Source: Major producers ready for food fortification | The Herald June 7, 2017
Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Reporter—
Nine local companies have indicated their readiness to start producing fortified food by July 1, and there is no going back on the policy, deputy director of nutrition in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Mrs Annscaria Chigumira has said. Food fortification involves replacing nutrients lost during food processing to increase nutritional value.
In an interview yesterday following concerns by some sectors that they were not ready to start food fortification, Mrs Chigumira said the onus was on individual companies to apply for an extension.
“Government made it mandatory for all companies to fortify maize meal, wheat flour, cooking oil and sugar with effect from July 1, 2017 and all companies must comply,” said Mrs Chigumira.
She said those who do not comply with the new regulations risked being banned.
“Those that are not ready to start fortifying their products must individually apply to the Permanent Secretary for a waiver,” said Mrs Chigumira.
“If they do not apply for a waiver and they do not comply, they will definitely be stopped from producing.”
Mrs Chigumira said fortification of salt bore evidence that food fortification was effective.
“We no longer have problems of goitre in Zimbabwe since we introduced iodised salt and it is within the same framework that we want to curb other diseases associated with macro-nutrient deficiencies,” said Mrs Chigumira.
Companies that have since indicated their readiness to start food fortification are National Foods, Grain Marketing Board, Mega Foods, Tongaat Hulett, Blue Ribbon, Parrogate, Gutsamhuri, UniFoods and Zim Source Foods.
According to the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey (2011) and the Micro-nutrient Survey of 2012, many Zimbabweans, especially children and women, suffer from micro-nutrient deficiencies.
According to the statistics, about 19 percent of children below the age of five years have Vitamin A deficiency, 54 percent of women in child bearing age suffer from iron deficiency, while 26 percent have anaemia.
Moreso, 72 percent of children below the age of five are iron deficient and 31 percent suffer from anaemia.
According to nutrition experts, the deficiencies lead to growth retardation, stunting, still births, low birth weights and malnutrition.