NIGERIA – The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has drafted new standards for Nigerian condiments and spices that seeks to ensure continual improvement in the quality of seasoning with fermented condiments.

The new standard, Nigeria Industrial Standard (NIS) for African Fermented Condiments, will also optimize traditional methods of seasoning to make the fermented condiments attractive and safe for human consumption both for the local and export market.

The Head Food Group, SON Dr. Mrs Omolara Okunlola explains that the production of African Fermented Condiments has been on the increase due to introduction of new technologies resulting in large scale production. 

“From the traditional small-scale household basis under highly variable conditions, production of Fermented Condiments are moving to a more standardized process that will guarantee consistent quality,” she said.

According to Okunlola, the code of practice is being established for the guidance of processing and packaging African Fermented Condiments to assure the quality and ensure its safety for human consumption.

African condiments according to the Work Group are derived from different vegetables and seeds such as oil bean seeds, cotton seeds, castor oil seeds, melon seeds, locust beans etc.

“They are differentiated by the processes of fermentation and production from different cultures across Nigeria and known by different names such as Dadawa in Northern Nigeria, Ogiri Isi and Ogiri Opei in the East and Iru in Western Nigeria.”

Spices and condiments are made from natural plants or vegetable products and the mixtures derived are used in whole or ground form, mainly for imparting flavor, aroma and piquancy to foods, soups and other beverages.

Dr Okunlola further highlighted the benefits of African fermented Condiments as veritable source of protein, essential vitamins and other micronutrients.

The Director General of SON, Osita Aboloma further underscored the significant role of spices and condiments in economic development highlighting that standardizing the sector could open the export market.

“Fermented vegetables begin with Lacto-fermentation; a method of food preservation that enhances the nutrient content of the food.

“The action of this bacteria makes the minerals in cultured foods more readily available to the body. The bacteria also produce vitamins and enzymes that are beneficial for digestion,” he explains.

Participants in the work group meeting included representatives of NAFDAC, West African Seasoning Ltd, Life Pro Food Mills, AACE Food and other interested parties from the industry.