Highlight on Food Fortification

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Nutrition improvement should ideally be done through amelioration of daily household consumption based on balanced nutrition. However, not all member of the household could meet the requirements of balanced nutrition due to low income and insufficient knowledge. Process for upgrading community buying power require long term sustainable economic development and should be pro-poor, therefore the results cannot be expected in a short term. While the children with micronutrient deficiencies need immediate assistance.  Intervention should be given at young age – under fives – to prevent these children from negative effects when they become adult. The negative effects include health, intelligence dan productivity.

Since the beginning of 20th century nutrition science and food technology have made a breakthrough to help those who suffer from lack of micronutrients when they are still poor. Food fortification technology is one among these breakthroughs.

Benefits of Food Fortification
Global Alliance for Improving Nutrition (GAIN) in 2006 has reported the results of food fortification in a number of countries. Fortification of wheat flour with iron in Chile could eliminate anemia due to iron deficiency, so it is no longer a public health problem (only 1-7 % prevalence). While the prevalence of spinal cord on newly born babies, known as Neural Tube Defect (NTD), due to lack of folic acid during pregnancy, down from 17 per 10,000 to 10 per 10,000. Whereas in the neighboring country Argentina, which does not carry flour fortification, the prevalence of anemia was recorded 27 percent.

China also carry out fortification (voluntary) of fish sauce and soy sauce with iron, which reduce prevalence of anemia among women and children under five from 35-40 to 10 percent after a year of fortification. In Latin America, the sugar fortification with vitamin A, could reduce the prevalence of vitamin A from 40 to 13 percent in 5 years. Efficacy studies on fortification of rice with iron in the Philippines showed also a decrease in the prevalence of anemia among primary school children in Manila .

Damage Assessment Report ( DAR ) from UNICEF and MI (2004 ) stated fortification of cooking oil with vitamin A in 75 countries reduce 20 % of prevalence of vitamin A deficiency in under fives.

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