Edible oil fortification important to address vitamin deficiencies

Muhammad Qasim
Thursday, Feb 29, 2024

Islamabad:The speakers of a workshop held here on Wednesday on the importance of edible oil fortification acknowledged the role of industry and food authorities in implementing and enforcing oil fortification in their respective regions to address widely prevalent vitamin A&D deficiencies.

Nutrition International in collaboration with Islamabad Food Authority and AJK Food Department organised the workshop on scaling up and institutionalizing mandatory edible oil fortification in Islamabad and Azad Jammu and Kashmir regions. The objective of the workshop was to educate millers and staff from food regulatory bodies on fortification processes and its quality assurance and quality control.

Speaking at the workshop, Zameer Haider, National Program Manager, Large Scale Food Fortification, Nutrition International shared that edible oil fortification is a proven and cost-effective strategy to address vitamin A&D deficiency. He said the NI is providing training and capacity-building support to all 150 oil mills and staff from all provincial and regional food authorities across Pakistan to ensure effective implementation of national edible oil fortification standards. He also highlighted that NI will be providing support to food authorities in strengthening their capacity for the implementation of revised standards for industrially produced trans fatty acids (iTFAs) as per WHO recommendations.

Dr. Tahira Siddique, Deputy Director, Islamabad Food Authority appreciated the role of NI in implementing edible oil fortification in the country. She also thanked NI for donating one iCheck Equipment to Islamabad Food Authority for testing of vitamin A in edible oil samples and ensured that this equipment will be used for enforcement of edible oil fortification standards in Islamabad region.

Mohsin Khan, Assistant Director, Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) shared national standards for edible oil manufacturing including its fortification and highlighted the issue of informal and unregulated sectors and stressed the need to collaborate to stop the movement of loose and unhygienic edible oil in the country as it is injurious to human consumption.

Abdul Hameed, Director Food, AJK Food Department, shared his department’s commitment to ensuring safe and nutritious food for the people of AJK and thanked NI for their contribution in implementing large scale food fortification to address micronutrient deficiencies.

The edible oil millers also appreciated the efforts of NI in organizing the workshop and shared their commitment to producing only high-quality and fortified cooking oils for their consumers to help address the issue of vitamin A&D deficiencies.

At the closing ceremony of the training session, Member National Assembly, Anjum Aqeel Khan addressed the gathering and shared that their government ranks nutrition as one of the top priorities and it will ensure that the women and children in the country have access to fortified food and promised that their government will introduce legislation for mandatory fortification in the federal areas.