SAM OLUWALANA, IBADAN
Nigeria’s premier University, University of Ibadan and the food company, Nestle Plc has collaborated in a project set to provide reliable data in the nutrition composition of all Nigerian foods.
This translates into the gathering of reliable data on the nutrients contents of the foods consumed by Nigerians, especially, but not limited to the staple foods in each locality of the country.
Professor Tola Atimo, the chairman of a plenary session at the recent 47th annual General meeting and scientific conference of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, with the theme; ”Controversies in Nutrition : Separating facts from fads and fallacies which held at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan stated that some African Countries are serious about the scientific collation and reviewing of their food contents.
He added that as at 2016, there was no reliable comprehensive Nigerian food composition table or date base.
Dr R.S Sanusi, who is the Chief Investigator of the scheme explained that in 1985, the Department of Human Nutrition of the University, in a bid to underscore the importance of the data scheme, wrote a proposal to Nestle to help fund the project.
his words” Technical meetings were held to do justice to data collected using a tool provided by the Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO, in order to measure the veracity and accuracy of the data collected”.
While acknowledging the contribution of the food company, he also advised that for archival and referencing sake, users and others should join the network to provide data for the project to work effectively in the country.
On the project itself, he expanded its scope to include the food composition table and database review and relevance.
He added that they are compositions of the components in foods and that they are relevant, reliable and up-to-date food composition data that are of fundamental importance in nutrition, dietetics and health.
The Ogun State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Babatunde Ipaye, told the august audience that graced the occasion that the nutritious messages will be spread across his state.
” On getting back to my state, I shall ensure that the nutritious messages shall be spread across the whole of Ogun State”. he said.
Mrs. Chiowa Eme-Nwachukwu of Nestle Plc, who also doubles as the Nutritions body’s Coordinator for the Sub-Saharan Africa, also spoke about the partnership between her company and U.I.
She expressed gratitude to Professor Akinyele of the University’s Department of Human Nutrition, who she said, started the laudable project.
”At a point, it was as if the project was going to be swept under the carpet, but today it has come to fruition.
”These was due to hard work and commitment. I saw the scientists at work during a session and I saw that a lot went into it”.
The project was launched by the Minister of Health, who was represented by Dr. Chris Osa Isokpunwu, the Head of Nutrition in the Federal Ministry of Health.