NIGERIA – The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has set out to review standards on Ready To Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) and Food Grade Colour to ensure they are prepared according to the specific formulas for proper management of malnourished children and related consumers at large.

SON welcomed the Technical Committee (TC) on Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) and Food Grade Color to its laboratory complex Ogba, Lagos State, to review the Nigerian Industrials Standard (NIS).

In his welcome address, the Director General Mallam Farouk Salim stated that this initiative is a joint effort between SON and Stakeholders to provide a Standard that will instruct humanitarian organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), importers, as well as local manufacturers on production, certification, and safety requirements for ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF), as well as food grade color used for printing on food products, per international best practices.

The Director General, who was represented by Mr. Yunusa Mohammed, Deputy Director and Head of the Food Group, noted that it has become critical to review the Standards in these areas to ensure therapeutic foods are prepared in accordance with the specific formulas for the proper management of malnourished children and related consumers generally. 

This is because poverty and insecurity are so common and have made it impossible to access a nutritious diet, especially for micro and macronutrients.

The SON boss praised the committee’s high caliber of stakeholders and thanked the in-attendance representatives of the pertinent bodies for their continued commitment to this National assignment and their prompt responses whenever they are requested to participate in the standards development decision-making process.

According to him, “they play a key role in the elaboration of standards, hence without their support in experience and technical expertise in drafting relevant market-driven standards, it would have been impossible to avail Nigeria and Nigerians the much-needed Industrial standard for manufacturing, trade, and investment.”

The SON helmsman also commended Nutri K Ltd.’s management for taking the initiative to work with SON to develop these standards, and he urged other stakeholders to follow their lead and help SON in all standardization efforts.

Mallam Salim wished the members a fruitful deliberation and prayed that a consensus is formed on the many opinions that would be raised to sanitize the industry and provide Made-In-Nigeria products with a competitive advantage in quality and customer satisfaction.

In a similar vein, the Chairman of the Technical Committee, Prof. O T. Adepoju, thanked the Committee for electing him as its chairman and stated that the standard under consideration will significantly lower the level of malnutrition among children in the country between the ages of 6 and 59 months in addition to improving the availability of RUTF.

Adepoju urged committee members to give their all in reviewing the standards, which will serve as a working document for Nigerian businesses and partners. 

“They should keep in mind that the Standards’ ultimate goals are to promote the use of locally produced goods, improve the lives of Nigerian children, and lower the country’s malnutrition rate,” he said.

Participants included representatives from the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PSHAN), Nutri K LTD, Dana Holdings Ltd, Micronutrients Laboratory Ltd, DABS, the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, as well as academics from the University of Ibadan, to name a few.

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