UNICEF donated items to NAFDAC
Nov.6 (PREMIUM TIMES) — The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, on Tuesday donated 36 vitamin A test kits to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, to intensify inspection of fortified foods.
A Nutritionist at UNICEF, Davis Omotola, who presented the donated items to NAFDAC in Abuja, urged the agency to have zero tolerance to substandard food products in the country.
Mr. Omotola said the equipment would be used to check the quality of micro-nutrients in foods in order to reduce malnutrition.
Receiving the equipment, NAFDAC’s Director-General, Paul Orhii, said the agency would make judicious use of the equipment.
He said that the check in the quality of foods consumed by people would improve the health of the people.
“Food is our major area of regulation but because for some times we had the menace of fake drugs, we spend a lot of effort, energy and resources chasing fake drug dealers.
“And we know that if we regulate the food industry very well and Nigerians have good quality food, they might not even need the drug in the first place. So their chances of taking a fake drug is also limited and so that is why we are taking the issue of food very seriously,” Mr. Orhii said.
Mr. Orhii said fortified food was a good strategy in addressing the issue of malnutrition in the country. He said the challenges of reducing maternal and child mortality could be tackled through fortified food.
He said the agency had created a food directorate that would oversee the operations of food manufactured products. He said food fortification policy is a public health policy which aims to reduce numbers of people with dietary deficiencies in a population.
The NAFDAC boss said the vitamin A test kits would help the agency gain international recognition in leading the global effort in food fortification and provision of good quality of food to the people.
Also speaking, Hausa Karen, the Director of Establishment of NAFDAC, noted that malnutrition was one of the childhood killer diseases.
Ms. Karen said that fortified food was the most effective and cheapest way to address the issue of malnutrition in the country. The test kits are for semi quantitative spot analysis of food products including flour, vegetable oil and sugar.
Food fortification or enrichment is the process of adding micronutrients (essential trace elements and vitamins), to food for extra nutrients.