The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has advised Nigerians to demand for fortified foods with appropriate logos before making purchases.
Mrs Veronica Ezeh, Deputy Director, Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Directorate, of NAFDAC, made the call on the sidelines of the National Consultative Summit on Food Fortification in Lagos.
Ezeh said that food fortification had become necessary due to high rate of micronutrient deficiency disorders.
According to her, major micronutrient deficiency disorders include Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD), Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) diseases and Iron Deficiency Anaemia (IDA).
She explained that lack of these micronutrient deficiency disorders could lead to many forms of malnutrition thereby contributing to child and maternal mortality as well as nutrition related non-communicable diseases.
“Nigerians should imbibe the habit of demanding for fortified foods and look out for the logos that characterised same.
“Foods like salt, sugar and vegetable oil are expected to be have been fortified in Nigeria.
“Flour, wheat, maize, sugar and vegetable oil should be fortified with Vitamin A.
“When buying any of them, on the pack, consumers should look out for the symbol of an eye with an `A’ inside the eye,’’ she said.
“For salt, it is expected to be fortified with Iodine.
“On the packaging, look out for the map of Nigeria with dark/black border and three small human beings in white in the middle of the map.
“This is the logo that signifies iodine,’’ she said.
Ezeh cautioned against buying salt in `mudus’ or open packaging basis because the big packs like the 25kg bag could not retain iodine.
She advised consumers to buy salt in small packages of 110g, 250g and 1kg because these small sachets could retain iodine.
Ezeh also called on the media to partner with the agency to continually give the right information to the public.
“The media should be able to work hand in hand with NAFDAC.
“There is need to give the right information to the public.
“If you work jointly with us, you will be able to have first-hand information which you will disseminate to consumers,’’ Ezeh said. (NAN)