Mapping Industrially-Produced Trans-Fatty Acids in Nigeria

The SUN Business Network (SBN) / Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) are conducting a pilot project with the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) to support the replacement of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids (iTFA) by local companies in Nigeria and Pakistan. As part of this project, SBN/GAIN worked with a consultant to develop a report on sources and replacement solutions for iTFA in Nigeria.

Likely sources of iTFA in Nigeria

Based on the interviews conducted for this report, biscuits and margarine are estimated to be among the main sources of iTFA in Nigeria. Secondary estimated iTFA sources include baked products such as bread, cakes and other confectionery. The report highlights the challenges and opportunities that the Nigerian private sector faces in understanding and replacing iTFA. While fractionation and blending appear to be the most feasible iTFA replacement solutions for Nigerian companies, they will need a better enabling environment to successfully tackle this issue. Companies will also need to innovate and provide accurate knowledge to consumers to achieve a trans-fat free Nigeria, this will require proper labeling and responsible marketing.

The final recommendations of the report are:

  • Regulations should be adopted and implemented to limit iTFA levels to no more than 2 grams per 100 grams of oils and fats. The regulations should include measures to address iTFA content in the informal sector (notably oil producers) and be accompanied by sufficient laboratory capacity to conduct the necessary training. This will generate both incentives and a fair playing field for the private sector in Nigeria on iTFA replacement.
  • Regulations on iTFA replacement should take into account the capacity and time needed by local companies to achieve a limit of 2 grams of iTFA per 100 grams of oils and fats, especially for SMEs.
  • Regulations on iTFA replacement should require food business operators that are supplying food to other food business operators to provide them with information on the amount of trans fat in their products, where that amount exceeds 2 grams per 100 grams of fat (not including trans fat naturally occurring in fat of animal origin). The limited capacity of SMEs to assess the iTFA levels of the ingredients they purchase should also be recognised.
  • Businesses should be involved in the NCD Strategy Nigeria 2019-2025, especially around their expected role in the implementation of the iTFA related part of the Strategy.
  • Public sector’s consumer awareness campaigns around the negative health impact of iTFA and the benefit of trans fat free products would support demand creation of trans fat free products and incentivise/reward companies investing in the production of trans fat free products.

Read the full report: Mapping of Industrially-Produced Trans-Fatty Acids (iTFA) in Nigeria