A Civil Society Organisation, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, CAPPA, has raised alarm over certain dangerous food chemicals that are been consumed by Nigerians daily.
The alarm was raised at a media conference, to mark World Food Day 2020 with the theme, ‘Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together. Our actions, Our Future’, in Abuja, by the Executive Director, CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, who was represented by Director of Programmes, Philip Jakpor.
While speaking at the event, Oluwafemi said that, the little food most Nigerians, have continued to consume on daily basis, are harmful to their health unknowingly, that they need to raise the awareness about these trans-fats that have caused serious damage to vital organs of the body including the liver, kidneys, heart, blood vessels, colon, lungs, sight, skin, and also increase of body weight, joint pains, effects on men and women fertilities, and others.
He also said that trans-fatty acids are mostly found in fast, packaged, baked, and all sorts of processed foods best described as junk foods.
In his words, “To refresh our memories, the World Food Day is celebrated on 16 October annually to etch forever in our memories the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945.
“The underlying message to governments, producers, consumers, and all of us every year is that the task of ensuring the wholesomeness of our food from the farm to the table is a shared responsibility. The theme of this year’s commemoration: Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together, reminds us of this shared responsibility.
“Ordinarily the focus of our engagement today would have been how Nigerians hunger amidst an abundance of arable land in the country. Yes, that is still true. But because of the urgency of the present situation, we must emphasize even more, how the little that Nigerians consume continues to harm their health. Fatalities attributable to trans-fats consumption in Nigeria just a decade ago was 1,300 persons.
“But with the upsurge in the consumption of fast foods, packaged foods, baked foods and all sorts of processed foods best described as junk foods there is the likelihood that more people, especially the young upwardly mobile are at risk of a major trans fats- induced health catastrophe.”
According to him, a well-publicized report some weeks ago emphasize on what has been said over time as the report alerted that more Nigerians are now getting heart attacks and strokes from consumption of imported vegetable oil that has ‘high trans fats content’.
“The world over, critical attention is being paid to what people eat. Food is a necessity of life just like the air that we need for respiration. The public health of a nation largely depends on what its citizens consume.
“In 2018 the World Health Organisation (WHO) while unveiling its REPLACE initiative, called on governments to remove trans-fat from food supplies in a bid to have a healthy population. “It particularly noted that “Eliminating trans-fats is key to protecting the health and saving lives: WHO estimates that every year, trans-fat intake leads to more than 500,000 deaths of people from cardiovascular disease”, he stated.
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He also made a call to the government, relevant regulatory authorities, and stakeholders including the media to rise up to come up with legislations and intensify awareness of the danger most Nigerians at all strata of life consume daily and expressed optimism that “a Trans fat-free Nigeria is possible.”
“Nigeria, with a huge and vulnerable population must not take the back seat in the global war against trans-fats. Nigeria must set the pace on the regulation of this silent killer on the African continent. While we commend the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for the release of guidelines and regulations on the use of fats and oils, as well as pre-packaged foods, water, and ice labeling, it is now time to speed up the process to check the trans-fats time bomb.
“As we mark the World Food Day 2020 we are re-emphasizing the need for the following: The Governing Council of the NAFDAC should speedily approve the guidelines and regulations on the use of fats and oils, as well as pre-packaged foods, water, and ice labeling which has strong provisions on trans-fats.
“Increased awareness on the dangers of consuming foods high in trans-fats; and compelling the oils and fats and the fast-food industry to comply with global best practice in relation to trans fats in the processing of their products.” He added.
Reported by OLADIMEJI OGUNTOYINBO,
🌳FARMING NEWS TODAY,
WORLD FARMERS CENTRE.