The National Food Fortification Alliance (NFA) of Liberia has commended Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for signing into law the Liberia's regulation for wheat flour fortification.
According to a release from NFA Chairman Rufus Kar Kar, the regulation that was signed on Tuesday, august 8, 2017 aims to make both domestic-producers and importers to fortify their wheat flour with nutrient's types and level that match Liberia's adopted fortification standards in order to curtail chronic disease(s) leading to infant and maternal death in the Liberian society, chronic malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies persist in Liberia as outlined by the 2011 micro-nutrient deficiency survey as shown below:
59% of children 12 - 59 months, 38% of pregnant women, and 33% of non-pregnant women are anemic; 13% of children are vitamin a deficiency; 33% of children 6-35 months are stunted, 9% wasted, and 22% underweight.
The release states that the 2009 Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency (VMD) report estimates that zinc deficiency impacts 59.2% of the population; and the March of Dimes Foundation estimates that folic acid deficiency contributes to an estimated 482 neural tube defects annually.
"As a result of the following statistics shown above, the nation is at risk of losing significant individuals and national economic potential, not to mention premature death and disability. Food fortification, or the addition of essential vitamins and minerals to commonly consume staple food products, has been deemed one of the most cost-effective means of addressing this form of malnutrition that exist today. As a food-based approach, food fortification program offer a number of unique advantages over other interventions. Fortified stable foods contain the amount of micro-nutrients necessary for a well-balanced diet and are widely consumed and distributed throughout the population. Fortification therefore, has the potential to impact the nutritional status of rural and urban populations",the release states.
The NFA said that the delivery system for the fortified foods is already established and in place through the private sector and that the involvement of large number of government ministries, importers, local industries, international non-governmental organization and the general public in the fortification program, ensures a holistic and sustainable approach to combating micronutrient malnutrition.
"To date, Liberia's only wheat flour producer, Premiier Milling Corporation (PMC) and one of the country's largest importers of cooking oil, Fouani Brothers, were granted use of the national fortification logo after having successfully fulfilled necessary national standard requirements. This achievement will contribute greatly to increase reach of fortified foods throughout Liberia and improving individual health and national economic performance.
The national food fortification therefore, urges all manufacturers and importers of wheat flour to comply with this sign regulation, as it a law and as such binding on all for implementation", the release concludes.