8th July , 2019
Kampala, 1st July 2019 - The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) together with Ministry of Health (MoH) embarked on a food fortification training of stakeholders in the baking industry. The development is aimed at emphasizing fortification of maize flour.
Food fortification was first implemented in Uganda in 2005. It refers to the adding of nutrients (vitamins and minerals) to food items regularly consumed by the public, to improve the nutritional quality of food and provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health.
In 2011, the government of Uganda made food fortification mandatory for wheat flour, maize flour and edible vegetable oil as per the Food and Drugs (food fortification) (Amendment) Regulations, 2011 SI. No.53.
However, only wheat flour and vegetable oil manufacturers adhered to the regulation. Therefore, the training of stakeholders in the baking industry is aimed at ensuring that maize flour producers adhere to food fortification.
Ministry of Health Senior Nutritionist, Sarah Ngalombi revealed that government is committed to fighting malnutrition and deficiencies like Spina bifida and Anemia by fortifying foods like wheat and maize flour to enrich them with Vitamin A, Iron, Zinc and folic.
According to the UNICEF Global Progress Report, Iodine deficiency in pregnancy is causing almost 18 million babies a year to be born mentally impaired, Iron deficiency in the 6 - 24 month age group is impairing the mental development of approximately 40% to 60% of the developing world’s children, the vitamin A deficiency is compromising the immune systems of approximately 40% of the developing world’s under-five, leading to deaths of approximately one million young children each year.
MoH Senior Nutritionist, Sarah Ngalombi thus believes that fortified foods will help fight deficiencies among children right from birth. The stakeholders were also trained about food safety and the use of UNBS e-services was emphasized.
The Food Fortification Regulation 2005 and Amendment 2011 is housed under the Ministry of Health. Uganda National bureau of Standards (UNBS) sets and monitors standards to ensure compliance with the regulation.