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June 23, 2021

Prevalence of anaemia, neural tube defects: Nutrition International seeks minister’s help

PESHAWAR: The Nutrition International on Tuesday sought help from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Food Atif Khan for approval of the mandatory food fortification legislation from the provincial assembly to reduce the prevalence of anaemia and neural tube defects among the women and children.

Irfanullah, National Manager for Wheat Flour Fortification, Zameer Haider, National Manager for Oil Fortification and Imtiaz Ali Shah, Provincial Programme Manager Nutrition International held a meeting with the minister. They briefed the minister about the support the Nutrition International was providing to the Food department and Food Authority in fortification and Quality Assurance Quality Control of Wheat Flour, Edible Oil and Salt iodization.

The Nutrition International emphasized that despite provision of millions of US dollars worth equipment (micro feeders) to the millers and training to the millers and government staff on Fortification methods and Quality Assurance Quality Control, the fortification of wheat flour was still not mandatory.

Due to the voluntary nature of fortification, a small proportion of wheat flour was fortified across the province. Keeping this in mind, the Nutrition International submitted the draft legislation and requested the minister to provide support in approval of the mandatory food fortification legislation from the provincial assembly to reduce the prevalence of anemia and neural tube defects among the women and children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The Nutrition International will provide lab testing equipment to KP food authority to make sure high quality and properly refined, packaged and fortified edible oil was sold in the market.

National Programme Manager of Nutrition International for wheat and oil Fortification said that food fortification had become even more critical in Covid-19 pandemic.

The Nutrition International will train flour millers/oil millers and the staff from food authority on wheat/oil fortification processes and Quality Assurance Quality Control practices.

All the participants agreed that using digital technology and innovation was important to ensure food safety and quality as these can help implement nutrition specific programmes in the province.