Nigeria’s food safety regulator, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has countered claims of outsourcing the analysis of micronutrients to a private laboratory, in response to recent reports suggesting otherwise.
The agency debunked the news report claiming that it lacks a laboratory to test for food fortification.
Food fortification is the process of adding vitamins and minerals to processed foods to improve their nutritional value.
NAFDAC’s director-general, Mojisola Adeyeye, said in a statement on Monday that the report falsely attributed this claim to the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), the Civil Society Legislative Advisory Centre (CSLAC), and eHealth.
“I wish to state unequivocally that NAFDAC has laboratories for analyses of micronutrients in food and has been conducting annual surveys on food fortification in Nigeria for the past years,” the statement reads.
“Particularly, the Central Food Laboratory has internationally accredited micronutrient laboratory units with state-of-the-art equipment.
“The laboratory has the Vitamins units for testing of vitamins in food which include Vitamin premix and fortified food vehicles.
“Vitamins tested include fat-soluble- Vitamin A; water-soluble – thiamine, riboflavin, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, cyanocobalamin, folate.
“This unit is equipped with the latest versions of Agilent and Chromaster brands of High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC).
“The Laboratory has the Metal unit equipped with the latest models of Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (AAS), Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectrometer (ICP-OES), Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS).
“The metal unit analyses all the nutritional and heavy toxic metals in food including the fortification vehicles.”
According to Adeyeye, the units possess a team of well-trained staff who are fully equipped with the necessary technical skills to handle the equipment required for analyzing micronutrients. These staff members follow internationally recognized protocols in conducting their analyses.
She mentioned that in the 2023 food fortification survey, the laboratory, along with other NAFDAC laboratories across the country, manages more than 10,000 samples of fortified foods.
“I wish to state here that NAFDAC did not and had never contracted the analyses of its micronutrients or any parameter of its regulated products to private laboratories since my assumption of office as the Director General,” she added.