FDB sensitise vegetable oil importers on fortification
Accra, May 8, GNA – Mr. Richard Odum Nyumuah, Project Manager of the National Food Fortification Alliance (NFFA), on Friday urged vegetable oil importers to insist that their suppliers fortified their products with vitamin A to prevent micronutrient deficiencies in the country.
He said since the NFFA project started two years ago, all local flour and oil companies had started fortifying their products and it would be appropriate to bring on board importers as well to achieve the aim of the project.
The project being supervised by the Food and Drugs Board (FDB) was to develop a five-year food fortification strategic plan to address the problem of micronutrient deficiency in Ghana.
He said they do periodic check-ups at the factory and collect samples for laboratory test to be sure that manufacturers add the exact quantity of Vitamin A.
That, he said, is even done at the market places and in the rural areas to ensure full compliance.
Mr Nyumuah said the cost of adding vitamin A was very minimal and would neither affect prices nor change the taste of the products and urged them to see the exercise as their corporate responsibility towards the Ghanaian consumers.
He gave a two- month grace period to the importers to contact their suppliers and get back to the FDB for the necessary technical assistance.
He hinted that the FDB was working on a legislation to ban all non-fortified imported vegetable oils and wheat flour and would also embark on a national educational campaign to sensitise the public against patronising non-fortified products.
Dr Stephen K. Opuni, said various surveys by the Ghana Health Service and other stakeholders indicated that the major nutritional problems plaguing Ghana were Protein Energy Malnutrition and Micronutrient Deficiencies, in particular vitamin A deficiency, iodine deficiency disorders and iron deficiency (Anaemia).
He said if Ghana was to attain middle income status by the year 2015 as envisaged by the Millennium Development Goals, then micronutrient deficiencies with their attendant economic effects must be controlled.
“There cannot be a solution to the food security problems of Ghana without taking into account the nutritional needs of the rural populations in particular. Measurers for increasing agricultural productivity must also involve efforts at protecting the nutritional status of Ghanaians,” he added.
Dr Opuni therefore commended the local flour and vegetable oil industries for the commitment to the project for the past two years, adding, that was a sure indication of continuity after the donors had withdrawn support for the project.
“The project is in its final year and we should be concerned with the continuity after the donors have withdrawn their financial support. The NFFA, FDB and all Ghanaians are counting on you to go that extra mile to ensure that while we use your products, we are improving our nutritional status for healthy living,” he said.
Mrs Kate Quarshie, Nutritionist at the Ghana Health Service, stressed the need for everybody especially children, pregnant women and nursing mothers to take food rich in vitamin A and iron to help build a healthy society.