Definitions of vegetarian and vegan

There are no specific legal regulations for vegan and vegetarian foods in Nigeria. However, Section 2 of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control Act (NAFDAC) Pre-Packaged Food (labelling) Regulations 2022 provides that the name of a pre-package food shall be indicated in the Principal Display Panel (PDP) of the label, clearly indicating the specifics and true nature of the food not generic description; and the appropriate product statement of identity, where there is no specific, common or usual name of the food and shall be used in a manner that is not misleading or confusion to the consumer. From the provision, it is important that food labels are accurate in its description as vegetarian or vegan.

Fortification of foods

Fortified foods are foods to which vitamins, minerals or amino acids have been added to for the purpose of preventing or correcting a demonstrated deficiency of one or more nutrients in the population groups.

In Nigeria a person shall not sell or advertise any food that is represented on the label to the public as fortified with vitamins and minerals unless it is registered with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

The NAFDAC Food Fortifications Regulations 2021 (The Regulation), regulates the manufacturing, importation, exportation, distribution, sale, and advertisement of fortified foods in Nigeria. The Regulation contains a Schedule of foods which may be fortified with the corresponding vitamins or minerals. Only foods listed in Fifth Schedule to the Regulation maybe fortified with the corresponding vitamins or minerals as specified in the same Schedule.

By the regulation food shall not be said to be fortified with vitamins and minerals where the Nutrient Reference Value (NRV) intake of that food is more than the quantity of vitamins and minerals specified in the second schedule to the regulation and the vitamin and mineral content shall be at least 5% of the NRV per serving, expressed as a percentage of the NRV per 100g/100ml or per package. It is mandatory for foods like Sugar, Wheat and Maize Flour, Vegetable Oil, Margarine, and Butter to be fortified with Vitamin A.

Cannabis as an ingredient in food or supplements

In Nigeria, Cannabis also known as Indian hemp has been defined under the Dangerous Drugs Act and the Indian Hemp Act to mean any plant or part of a plant of the genus cannabis; or the separate resin, whether crude or purified, obtained from any plant of the genus cannabis; or any preparation containing any such resin, by whatever name that plant, part, resin, preparation may be called.

By the Provisions of the Dangerous Drugs Act, in Nigeria, the President reserves the right to make regulations for prohibiting the manufacture, sale or distribution of any such drug (as listed under Part III of the Act, which includes medical opium, any extract or tincture of Indian hemp, morphine and its salts, cocaine, etc) except by persons licensed or otherwise authorized under the regulations and subject to any conditions specified in the license or authority.

The Dangerous Drug Act makes it an offence for an unauthorized person to deal in dangerous drugs which by the provisions of the Act includes Indian hemp. Section 8 (1) (b) further classified the drugs to include any extract or tincture of Indian hemp.

Provided that such shall not apply to the importation or sale of any medical preparation of Indian hemp in circumstances such that no offence against the Dangerous Drug Act is committed.

In addition to the above, Section 5 of the National Agency For Food And Drug Administration And Control (NAFDAC) Act empowers NAFDAC to grant authorization for the import and export of narcotic drugs and psycho- tropic substances as well as other controlled substances. From the above. Certain products with tincture of Cannabis maybe registered with the authorization of the regulatory agencies.


This is general information rather than legal advice and is current as of 30 May 2024. We recommend you contact a specialised food lawyer for legal advice for your particular circumstances to support commercial decisions which could impact your product or business.