By Miriam Humbe
In an effort to boost breakfast meals with high dietary value especially for children, a Technical Committee Meeting recently met in Lagos to develop new Standards for Cereal and Cereal products and review the standard for cornflakes.
This according to the committee, is also to facilitate the certification of existing cereals and cereal products in the market and guarantee consumers value for money.
According to the Codex Alimentarius Commission, cereals are traditional breakfast meals especially for children, made from processed cereal grains or any grass cultivated for the edible components.
The Commission said further that processed cereal-based foods are prepared primarily from one or more milled grains, which should constitute at least 25% of the final mixture on a dry weight basis.
Declaring the meeting open, Director General SON, Osita Aboloma Esq. explained thus “developing the Standards is a means of improving wellness and providing nutritional diet for both the old and young”.
According to him, Nigeria stands to benefit from the development of these standards through products that are globally accepted which in turn would increase trade opportunities and competitiveness at both the sub regional, continental and global levels.
He stated that cereals are identified in different forms and grouped according to the grains used in its production, contents, as well as the processes used in creating a wholesome and acceptable product.
Represented by the Director, Standards Development, Mrs Chinyere Egwuonwu the DG SON enumerated various specifications for the different kinds of cereals and stated that the development of the various standards are sacrosanct to the actualisation of healthy eating.
The Standards deliberated upon include
Cornflakes (obtained from maize flour or maize grit), Rice Crispy, also called Pops (a crunchy product made from a mixture of Rice Flour and other ingredients by extrusion, cooking, drying and toasting of the extruded paste,and cut into desired shapes), Oatmeal (derived from cereal grain oat (Avena Sativa) and Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal (a staple food of carefully selected whole grain oat which is low in saturated fat and cholesterol in order to reduce the risk of heart diseases).
Chairman of the Technical Committee meeting, Professor Sunday Ojo Adigbo of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta disclosed that discussion on the draft Nigeria Industrial Standard for Soy Pop (derived from soya bean) was stepped down while a 6-member sub-committee of Manufacturers was set up to represent a new draft to the TC later.
The elaboration of these standards according to Prof. Adigbo are in response to the increased demand, production, marketing and consumption of the products in the country.
Participants at the TC meeting include representatives natives of Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria (IPAN); Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO); National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Promasidor.
Others were from Flour Mills Plc; Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC); OLAM Nigeria Limited; Nigerian Export Promotion Council(NEPC); NASCO Foods Nigeria Ltd; Grand Cereal Limited; Phinomar Foods Ltd; Graceco Limited Lagos; Eureka Agro Ltd and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan.
The secretariat for the TC meeting was statutorily provided by officials of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria.