By Sola Ogundipe
Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye has called for utilisation of procedural manual by member states of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), with respect to considering safety of food additives, while taking cognisance of new scientific data to support standards.
Speaking during the 41st Session of the CAC in Rome, Italy, Adeyeye observed that standardised daily intake of food additives should also be included in the manual while emphasis should be made on use of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in review of Codex standards.
The Codex Alimentarius is a collection of internationally adopted Food Standards and related texts presented in a uniform manner. These Food Standards and related texts aim at protecting consumers’ health and ensuring fair practices in the food trade.
It is consistent with NAFDAC’s mandate, which includes among others, to regulate and control importation, exportation, manufacture, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of food.
At the CODEX meeting, which adopted new food standards, the NAFDAC boss thanked the Commission for highlighting the effect of soil contamination on food safety, the problems of unhealthy diets high in sodium, sugars and fats, including trans-fat, and the dangers of alcohol abuse.
Quoting from FAO/WHO report, “Harmful use of alcohol is a major obstacle to sustainable development, it has an impact on the health and well-being of the drinkers and their friends, family, colleagues and can damage the social and economic fabric of society.
The harmful use of alcohol is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions, affecting maternal health and child development, non-communicable diseases and conditions such as cancer, violence, road safety, mental health and infectious diseases such as TB and HIV/AIDS”.
She added that efforts are been made by NAFDAC to control such products by holding back on further registration of alcohol in such packaging. Further, she expressed need to exercise caution in the use of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in pesticides expressing concern on effects these might have on the health of Nigerians.
The CAC set aside a Food Safety day that will start in 2019. Adeyeye’s participation at the meeting is part of the desire to ensure that food regulations are drawn out of the new standards to benefit the Food industry in Nigeria; Association of Food Beverage and Tobacco Employees (AFBTE) and the Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) who are the major players in the sector.
Furthermore, the meeting provided an avenue for knowledge sharing which will eventually be of immense benefit in ensuring that Nigerian food products for local consumption and for export are in conformity with relevant international standards.
Respective NAFDAC‘s directorates – Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Registrations and Regulatory Affairs and Laboratory Services (Food) – all work together to ensure that the standards set by CODEX are adopted in the approval process of all applications and registrations related to food and water.