Mercy Robert Ekwere
Cross River College of Education, Nigeria
Title: Food additives and health
Ekwere Mercy R is currently rounding up her PhD in the department of Biochemistry, College of Basic Medical Sciences; University of Calabar, Nigeria and has been teaching Biochemistry for the past 20 years.
The Joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization (Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee of Food Additives) is responsible for international health matters and public. Through this organization, the safety of various food additives and contaminants are evaluated in order to recommend acceptable daily intakes for humans, and prepare specifications for the identity and purity of additives. The relevant body attending to this matter in Nigeria is the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). Although there are several reports on toxicological significance of food additives such as saccharine as a causative agent for cancer , these information do not get to the level of the common man who do not pay attention to cautionary notes on food packages. Apart from this, additives like flavor enhancers rarely include instructions on the safe and acceptable daily intake. There is therefore a general lack of knowledge on the safe level of intake of these additives. In order to investigate the level of use of many of the additives which are readily available in local markets in Nigeria, a survey was carried out among some inhabitance of Port Harcourt the state capital of Rivers State in Nigeria, West Africa. This is expected to provide information on the possible dangers the people may be exposed to due to improper use of these chemicals and to guide regulatory policy on the use of food additives in Nigeria.