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21.05.2008 Health

Ghana to enact a law on compulsory food fortification

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Ghana is expected to enact a law on compulsory fortification of wheat flour and vegetable oils with micronutrients to overcome health problems associated with micronutrient deficiency.
The micronutrients, made up of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, folic acid and zinc would be added to wheat flour and vitamin A to vegetable oils.
Mr Emmanuel T. Quaye, National Food Fortification Project Manager gave the hint at the launch of a programme on food fortification in the Volta Region on Wednesday.
It was under the theme; "Strengthening Private/Public Partnership to Control Hidden Hunger"
He said the “hidden hunger" referred to the lack of micronutrients in foods and that the law would also require that only micronutrient fortified imported flour and vegetable oils would be allowed on the market.
Mr Quaye said the 1.8 million dollar programme is being implemented by the National Food Fortification Alliance (NFFA) and funded by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrients (GAINS), a non-profit international organization.
He said the GAINS came into being in July 2007 on a voluntary basis by the flourmills and some vegetable oil processing companies.
Mr Quaye urged the public to look for the logo, shown by a drop of oil on two stalks of wheat in a pot, whenever they bought wheat flour or cooking oil.
Major Courage Quashigah (rtd), Minister of Health said in a speech read for him that; "eliminating micronutrient deficiencies can have major yet subtle social and economic benefits.”
This he said includes, “increased Intelligent Quotient (IQ), reduction of impaired growth, improvement in work capacity and reduction of death associated with pregnancy and child birth".
Major Quarshigah stressed the need for parents and caregivers to feed their families, especially children and women in their reproductive ages with these fortified products, to ensure optimum health and survival.
"This we believe is the most cost effective and sustainable way to improve the health of our people," he said.

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