Preliminary Studies on Status of Nutrition Labeling of Pre-Packaged Food Products in Markets of Lagos Metropolis in Nigeria
Background: Nutrition labelling regulations have been in use in various countries since the United States Food and Drug Administration published its first regulations in 1973. The Pre-packaged Food Labelling Regulations came into use in Nigeria in 1995.
Objective: This study examined the nutrition labelling formats and shelf display practices, x-raying of the traditional back-of pack (BOP) labels and the emerging new front-of-pack (FOP) labels in open markets, mini supermarkets and large-scale supermarkets in the Lagos metropolis, Nigeria.
Methodology: A descriptive, cross-sectional survey design was conducted to evaluate nutrition labelling formats in 162 purposively selected samples of pre-packaged products. The data were analyzed using Microsoft Excel and presented in tables and figures.
Results: Open markets, mini-supermarkets and large-scale supermarkets accounted for 24%, 5% and 71% of the total sample population, respectively. Apart from the 'eye logo', most of the logos found on the labels were voluntary and presently not regulated, hence did not follow any consistent format. Only 4% of these products had the Front-of-Pack labelling format, and these were mostly imported products of multinationals, while 96% of products carried the Back-of-Pack label, comprising both local and imported
brands. It was noted that all products on display shelves were usually arranged in such a way as to communicate the brand name without any consideration for nutrition information.
Conclusion: These preliminary findings highlight the position of nutrition labelling in Nigeria and the need for an urgent review of the present labelling regulations for better consumer communication and alignment with global trends.
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