The Senior Programme Manager, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Nigeria, Dr. Olapeju Phorbee, has advocated the improvement of food fortification compliance in Nigeria. Phorbee made the call during the ENABLE Project laboratory accreditation programme organised by the Large Scale Food Fortification in Lagos recently.
She said, “Acceptability of food fortification is very necessary because the consumption of fortified foods regularly can address the issue of malnutrition in the country. In Nigeria, there is an increasingly alarming rate of micro-nutrient deficiency, otherwise known as hidden hunger.
“It is alarming because it has a lot of implications on people’s health, especially the mortality rate among reproductive women and under-five children. There was a time the Federal Government told industries producing flours, salt and sugar to fortify them with vitamin A, iron and folic acids.”
She added that her organisation has selected several laboratories by mentoring them. “We got all the gaps analysis and we put them together to come up with an eight-month mentorship programme for all of them toward accreditation. “Today, four laboratories scale through all the requirements and they cleared all their various tests in and out of the country. We can prepare the laboratories for accreditation assessment according to ISO 17025, 2017 by Nigeria National Accreditation Services.”
The Director Laboratory Services, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Charles Nwachukwu, said that acceptance of Nigeria products locally and internationally would increase due to accreditation of the four laboratories. “NAFDAC laboratories were also certified both locally and internationally. The food fortification mentoring was successful because most industries are now fortifying their products before supplying them out,” Nwachukwu said.