Geneva — Geneva, 6 March 2013 -- Program experts at the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) have disseminated a Supplement in the publication Food and Nutrition Bulletin highlighting best practices and lessons learned on adding essential micronutrients (such as vitamin A, iron, iodine and folic acid) to staple foods and condiments (known as large scale food fortification) so people and economies can thrive to their full potential.
Inadequate micronutrients can have consequences such as impaired physical and cognitive development of children and for women pregnancy complications.
Micronutrient fortification is a cost-effective intervention which has worked for over 90 years to decrease micronutrient deficiencies in the West. A top group of economists - the Copenhagen Consensus - has consecutively rated the intervention as one of the best development return on investments.
The articles synthesize key learning in four areas in food fortification: building public private partnerships; increasing access of fortified foods to target groups such as women of reproductive age and children; improving quality assurance and control; and new innovations and trends. They can be used as part of a toolkit to incorporate into and scale up national food fortification programs globally.
Successful GAIN-supported best practices are highlighted in the supplement. For example, a West African public-private partnership is reaching more than 50 million people in 15 countries with Vitamin A fortified cooking oil. In Egypt high level political commitment is enabling an estimated 57 million Egyptians to regularly access locally baked bread made with wheat flour fortified with iron and folic acid.
"Through these scientific articles, GAIN aims to strengthen global nutrition programs so they can have the most impact possible, including on women and children who suffer the most from the debilitating effects of malnutrition", said Mr. Van Ameringen, Executive Director of GAIN.