Sensitising SME’s, formal, informal sectors, others to Fats and Oils Regulation 2022

NAFDAC highlights key provisions, penalties for defaulters

As stakeholders seek prompt signing of regulations by Ministry of Health



By Edu Abade,



Following the approval of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Fats and Oils Regulations 2022 and the Pre-Packaged Food (Labeling) Regulations 2022, civil society organisations (CSOs) have commenced sensitisation of members of the public prior to its final signing and full implementation by the Federal Ministry of Health.

After harmonising the legal headwinds and securing the necessary approvals of the regulations at the Federal Ministry of Justice, civil groups, comprising the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), Network for Health Equity and Development (NHED), Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) and members of the Trans Fat-Free Nigeria coalition in collaboration with NAFDAC, commenced the sensitisation with its Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and Media Meeting in Lagos at the weekend.

Speaking at the event, Executive Director of CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, stressed the importance of the gazetting, as well as the eventual implementation and enforcement of the Fats and Oils Regulations 2022, maintaining that Nigerians must show a strong commitment to the elimination of trans fats from their foods chain.

“NAFDAC has been a worthy partner to the long journey to the achievement of the regulations to set limits to the consumption of foods containing trans fatty acids in Nigeria. To that extent, implementation of the regulations will be easier if Nigerians of all classes and status agree and support the eventual and successful enforcement of the regulations,” he said.

On her part, Coordinator of GHAI in Nigeria, Joy Amafah, commended NAFDAC and the Federal Ministry of Justice for initiating and approving the regulations, which had been in existence since 2005, reviewed in 2019 and finally approved in 2022.

She added that the regulations, which have been sent back to the Ministry of Health for final signing, will make Nigeria the second country in Africa after South Africa to legislate on Fats and Oils Regulations with a view to eliminating trans fat from their food chains and subsequently end diseases and deaths resulting from the consumption of industrially manufactured trans fatty acids.

Highlighting aspects of the regulations, a director of NAFDAC, Mr AbdulSalam Ozigis, stressed that strong regulation of fats and oils remains a critical tool in mitigating the effect of diseases and deaths caused by the consumption of fatty acids, adding that Fats and Oils Regulations 2005 was still in existence prior to the Fats, Oils Regulations 2022, which he said is at the final stage of gazetting and awaiting signing by the Minister of Health.

He explained that the scope of the reviewed regulations covers Fats, Oils and Foods containing Fats and Oils and that in terms of applicability, the reviewed regulations shall apply to edible fats, oils and foods containing edible fats and oils that are manufactured, imported, exported, advertised, sold, distributed or used in Nigeria.

On prohibition, he said: “A person shall not manufacture, package, import, export, advertise, distribute, display for sale, offer for sale, sell or use edible fats and oils as specified in the First Schedule of the regulations in Nigeria, unless it has been registered in accordance with its provisions.

“Where a product within the scope of these regulations is found to contravene the provisions therein, NAFDAC shall initiate a mandatory recall as provided in the recall, handling and disposal of unwholesome and adulterated food and food products regulations.”

The NAFDAC official further explained that edible fats and oils shall be sourced from vegetable and animal origin and may contain amounts of other lipids such as phosphatides, unsaponifiable matter and free acids naturally present in the fats and oils.

“Fats of animal origin shall be produced from animals in good health at the time of slaughter and certified fit for human consumption by competent authority and shall be named as indicated under the schedule for individual fats in these Regulations.

“While vegetable oils shall be derived from the botanical source after which they are named and indicated under the Schedules for individual oils,” he maintained.

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Clarifying the schedule on impurities, Ozigis stressed that no person shall sell, import, export, produce, market, store or distribute to the public, edible fats and oils that contain impurities such as heavy metals; petroleum products; foreign particles or any other substance not indicated in the list of additives for this category of food;

Others, he said are naturally occurring impurities, like Gossypol, any trace of inedible oils such as industrial lubricants, irrespective of source, dyes, including Azo and others, no edible fats and oils shall contain any foreign matter or have rancid odour or taste.

“As for labelling of fats and oils, in addition to compliance with the Pre-Packaged Food (Labeling) Regulations 2022, the following shall apply: A refined oil obtained from a single botanical source shall, in addition to the brand name and the specific name of the particular oil present, be so indicated on the label; for example “Refined Sunflower Seed Oil.

“A refined oil obtained from multi-botanical sources, where two or more oils are blended together, shall be so indicated on the label provided that the specific names of the oils are listed in the list of ingredients, for example, “Refined Sunflower Seed Oil Blend” or “Refined Vegetable Oil Blend.

“No person shall sell a mixture of animal fat and vegetable fat unless the label of that mixture carries the declaration “Contains Animal Fats and the label of a container in which margarine is packed shall bear the word ‘MARGARINE’ on the principal display panel in a legible and conspicuous manner.”

The regulations also clearly spelt out terms for labelling, limits and claims for Trans Fats and Cholesterol to the extent that Fats, Oils, and foods containing fats and oils intended for human consumption of which the content of trans-fat exceeds 2g per 100g of fat or oil are prohibited.

Also, no Trans-fat and Cholesterol free” claims shall be made on the label or in an advertisement, while nutritional labelling shall be mandatory for fats, oils and foods containing fats and oils, stating the amount and type of Saturated Fats, Trans Fatty Acids, Mono and Polyunsaturated Fats and Cholesterol.

It further stipulated that Fats, Oils, and foods containing fats and oils intended for human consumption should have labelling indicating Butylated Hydroxyanisole and/or Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHA and BHT) not up to 0.02 per cent or 200 parts per million of the fats or oils.

In the section that deals with offences and penalties, the regulations stipulated that any person who contravenes any of the provisions commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction, in the case of an individual, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to a fine not exceeding N800, 000 or both and (b) for a body corporate, a fine not exceeding N5, 000, 000.

“Where an offence under the regulations is committed by a body corporate, firm or other association of individuals, every director, manager, secretary or other similar officers of the body corporate, partner or officer of the firm, trustee of the body concerned, person concerned in the management of the affairs of the organisation.

“A person who purports to act in capacity referred to in paragraphs (a) to (d) of this sub-regulation, will severally be liable to be proceeded against and punished for the offence in the same manner as if he had himself committed the offence unless he proves that the act or omission constituting the offence took place without his knowledge, consent or connivance,” the regulations stated.

According to NAFDAC, contravention of any aspects of the regulations will also attract assets forfeiture upon conviction and as such, any person convicted of an offence under the regulations shall forfeit any asset or property constituting proceeds derived from or obtained, directly or indirectly, as a result of the offence to the Federal Government.

“Any of the person’s property or instruments used in any manner to commit or to facilitate the commission of the offence shall be forfeited. In the regulations, ‘proceeds’ means any properties derived or obtained, directly or indirectly, through the commission of the offence.

A high point of the event was the commitment elicited from representatives of SME groups, food segments of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), media practitioners and other stakeholders, who attended the meeting to sensitise their management and members of the general public to the dangers of continued consumption of trans fats in their food chains, just as NAFDAC restated that the agency would remain committed to the protection of all Nigerians through food safety and elimination of all potentially harmful edible items.

“These are the vital regulations that we need now, even as the Fats and Oils Regulations 2022 is awaiting its final signing by the Minister of Health before printing, dissemination and its eventual implementation and enforcement by relevant government agencies,” Ozigis concluded.

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