United Nations Children’s Fund has given Nigeria’s food regulation agency 36 kits that test for micronutrients in foods without recourse to a laboratory.
The kits can test for vitamin A in manufactured products–many of which are not verified by National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and produce results in 10 minutes.
UNICEF’s nutrition specialist, Dr Bamidele Omotola, who presented the kits to NAFDAC, said the agency had to ensure zero tolerance for fake food products.
“Now that we are talking about Vitamin A levels, the kits are very important, they will easily tell if the products are fake or not,” said Omotola.
“If it is fake, NAFDAC has the responsibility to ensure that the food product does not get to the market,” he urged.
Micronutrient levels in food are crucial to the country’s biofortification programme, and new kits in NAFDAC’s possession can be used to test for nutrients in vegetable oil, flour and sugar–all foods that should mandatorily contain vitamin A.
In biofortification, micro nutrients and vitamins are added to foods.
NAFDAC director-general, Dr Paul Orhii, emphasised: “If we are able to regulate foods very well, we will be able to reduce the rate of which Nigerians get ill; and the rate of drug intake will also be reduced.”
He added it would also help reduce the rate at which people get exposed to fake and counterfeit drugs.
“In food, the quality is very important for better nourishment of the body,” he observed.
In September, the agency received i-Check kits, portable devices that can allow officials test for minerals as magnesium and fluorine in foods out in the field and without recourse to laboratories.
Title of article: Nigeria: NAFDAC Gets Food Test Kits