Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bangladesh to fortify edible oil with vitamin A to benefit women, children

From AHN:

DHAKA, Bangladesh -– Bangladesh is successfully marketing iodized salt to reduce iodine deficiency, which is linked to mental retardation in children. Because of legislation here, table and cooking salt are sold in Bangladesh that is iodized.

The government is now expecting to fortify 300,000 metric tons of edible oil sold in retail markets. The Ministry of Industries will implement the project in partnership with the Bangladesh Vegetable Oil Refiner’s Association and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).

The Ministry announced that a total of 90 million children and women would benefit from the project. Of that population, 16 million are under the age of five, 42 million between the ages of 6 to 19 and 32 million women of reproductive age.

An official confirmed that it will cost less than a cent per kilogram to fortify edible oil with vitamin A.

The government has procured the required premix and equipment, which have been distributed to the edible oil refiners. Bangladesh imports edible oil from Malaysia, Canada and India. The oil is repacked in small plastic containers for sale in the grocery store.

Quality assurance and control of the fortified edible oil will be ensured through three levels of testing until Bangladesh Standards & Testing Institute (BSTI), which maintains standards of consumer items, formulates a new law to ensure quality.

A survey will determine the knowledge, attitude and practices of the population, consumption patterns and oil usage in Bangladesh, and the clinical and biochemical status of vitamin A nutrition.

In addition, an effective communication strategy will be developed to educate consumers about fortified oil and its benefits.