By Martins Ifijeh
Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, has said due to the ease of accessibility of alcohol in sachets to children, the agency will start holding back further registration of alcohol in such packaging. Adeyeye stated this at the 41st session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) held recently in Rome.
She said harmful use of alcohol was a major obstacle to sustainable development, adding that it has an adverse effect on the health and well-being of the drinkers, their friends, family, and colleagues, and can damage the social and economic fabric of the society.
CAC is the central part of the Joint Food and Agriculture Organisation/World Health Organisation (FAO/WHO) Food Standards Programme established to protect consumer health and promote fair practices in food trade.
According to Adeyeye, â€œThe 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.â€
On behalf of Nigeria, she agreed with other member states that CAC should follow the procedural manual with respect to safety of food additives, while also taking into cognisance new scientific data to support standards, realising that science is dynamic.
â€œWe are also in support of the inclusion of standardised daily intake of food additives in the manual, while emphasis should be made on use of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in review of CODEX standards,â€ she said.
The Codex Alimentarius is a collection of internationally adopted Food Standards and related texts presented in a uniform manner, which aims at protecting consumersâ€™ health and ensuring fair practices in the food trade.
The DG said this was consistent with NAFDACâ€™s mandate, which according to her includes among others, to regulate and control importation, exportation, manufacture, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of food.
She also 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.
â€œWe 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,â€ she stated.
Adeyeye said her participation in the meeting was borne out of a desire to ensure that food regulations were drawn out of the new standards that will benefit the food industry in Nigeria, the 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.