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Only 10 Of 157 Oils On Nigerian Market Are Labelled

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Only 10 oils out of over 157 oils presently been sold in the Nigerian market are labelled and certified healthy for consumption, the Executive Director of Nigerian Heart Foundation has revealed.  

Dr Kingsley Akinroye, the Executive Director of the Nigerian Heart Foundation made this known while speaking during a two-day journalism training on trans fats reporting organised by the Corporate Accountability & Public Participation Africa (CAPPA).

Dr Akinroye noted that unfortunately most Nigerians are grossly unaware of the dangers of consuming trans fatty oils because of the slow process of regulating and banning such produces in the country.

According to him when such oils are consumed over a long period of time it would constitute health challenges to Nigerians, including heart diseases, strokes, diabetes and others.

Akinroye said, “The World Health Organisation in 2018 announced that cardiovascular diseases are responsible for 11% deaths, followed by cancers which is 4%, then diabetes 1% then sickle cells.”

He added that though a lot of work is being done to come up with a policy that would regulate fatty oils, the stringent processes before products are labelled and certified healthy, are also a challenge.

“There is lack of awareness among the consumers on the dangers of these products, though information exists, there is paucity of information among the policymakers, scientists to push for relevant laws to regulate foods and oils with trans fats in Nigeria.

Dr Jerome Mafeni, the Technical Advisor of Trans Fatty Acids in a presentation titled, ‘The cardiovascular disease time bomb globally and in Nigeria,’ said that the cardiovascular burden in Nigeria was alarming.

He said, “Hypertensive heart disease is responsible for 22%, cardiomyopathies 11.5%, strokes 6.7%, making cardiovascular diseases the number one cause of deaths globally.”

He warned that industrially produced trans fats are dangerous to our health but lamented that unfortunately, no laboratory in Nigeria has the capacity to carry out an assessment of trans fats in foods in the country.

Most samples are sent out to other countries, which further frustrates the process of regulation of trans fats.

“We must know that the hydrogenation process is done to prolong the lifespan of the oil is what makes it dangerous to our health.

“However, some of our habits in our homes are hazardous to our health like recycling oil more than three times, or using oils that have already solidified, and bleaching palm oils before use is not advisable. Use of oils should be in moderation.”

In his welcome remark, the Executive Director of Corporate Accountability & Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) Akinbode Oluwafemi reiterated the need to create awareness on the dangers of trans fats.

He added that other countries have already taken the lead to regulate their foods which has reduced the burden of deaths from cardiovascular diseases.

“A decade ago the WHO introduced a regulation for trans fats to ensure its total consumption to 1%, but these are not adequately reported or enforced.

He called for an urgent review and passage of the policy on fats and oils regulation, 2019 by the National Agency For Food and Drugs Administration and Control.

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