Urges Nigerians to avoid TFAs, consume healthy food
As the world celebrated Valentine’s Day, yesterday, environmental activists and health advocates have urged the Federal Ministry of Health and National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to ensure adequate regulation of Trans Fatty Acids (TFAs) in the country’s food chain.
They also advised Nigerians to ensure that they consume foods lacking in trans fats, insisting that consumption of industrially produced trans fats have been estimated to cause around 500,000 deaths worldwide and about 1500 deaths yearly in Nigeria due to coronary heart disease.
Executive Director of the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Akinbode Oluwafemi, who spoke in company of Network for Health Equity and Development (NHED) and Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) representatives during a sensitisation rally in Lagos, yesterday, specifically charged Nigerians to avoid consuming food rich in trans fats during the Valentine period and beyond.
Besides calling on Nigerians to be wary of the dangers of trans fats, he also stressed the need for NAFDAC to strengthen regulation of TFAs in the country’s food chain, insisting that the agency was delaying the document that would ensure its effective regulation.
“The Federal Ministry of Health has the ‘Fats and Oils Regulations 2020’ and the ‘Pre-packaged Food, Water and Ice Labeling Regulation 2020, as transmitted by NAFDAC for review and onward and further action by the Federal Ministry of Justice.
“The regulations are in line with the REPLACE package of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to eliminate trans-fat from the global food supply by 2023.
“Nigeria is lagging as regulations needed to get to the actualisation of the 2023 deadline are yet to be passed and gazetted. In the same vein, the general public’s level of awareness is inadequate,” he said.
He further explained that the celebration of Valentine presents a great opportunity to engage the media and to advocate and sensitise members of the public on the dangers of Trans-Fat foods consumption.
Oluwafemi, who stressed the need to improve the awareness level of Nigerians on the dangers of trans fats, said the rally was aimed at mounting pressure the Ministry of Health and NAFDAC to take speedy and necessary action on the regulation of TFAs.
He said it was also aimed at mobilising Nigerians to support for the Trans Fat-Free Nigeria campaign and intensify public engagement for the regulations.
On his part, a medical doctor and public health advocate, who also stressed the need for Nigerians to avoid ‘breaking their hearts’ through the consumption of trans fats, added that the Ministry of Health and NAFDAC should help the citizens by ensuring speedy regulation of the deadly TFAs.
Source: The Guardian Newspaper