Nutritionists call for micronutrients fortification in food

NUTRITIONISTS are calling for the prioritization of micronutrients in food manufacturing as there is still a huge burden of micronutrient deficiency in the country.
Addressing the Parliamentary Portfolio on Health and Child Care last Thursday at a breakfast meeting hosted by UNICEF and Ministry of Health and Child Care, UNICEF nutrition consultant Mr Dexter Chagwena said they wanted to highlight the importance of fortification.
“We know food fortification works because it worked with iodine supplementation in salt. But because of the current trends, if we fortify mealie meal it reaches 45 percent. if we fortify sugar, it reaches 75 percent, with the cooking oil getting to the 80 percent,” he said. “The reason why we are coming here to the portfolio committee on health is to highlight some of the major problems we have in the nutrition sector. Micronutrients (deficiency) is one of the challenges. But now we are not saying the executive is not doing their job. But what we are doing is advocating for the parliamentary portfolio committee on health to ensure that this fortification which is supported by legislation is prioritized within the three sectors.”
He explained that food manufacturers bemoaned lack of access to foreign currency to import food fortificants.
“Some of the industries have got challenges in accessing foreign currency to import the food fortificants. So, we have advocated through the ministry of finance to request that fortificants are also included on the list of priority goods imported in Zimbabwe and duty is waived for these industries importing these fortificants. Because they are doing a national service. They are improving our national nutrition,” Mr Chagwena said.
Parliamentarians said they wanted to make sure they lobby for the nutritionists’ plea knowing fully well the challenges the industries’ are facing.

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