RWANDA – The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) of Rwanda has put forth new regulatory guidelines governing processing of local foods aimed at increasing food fortification and tackle malnutrition.

The proposal seeking to make it mandatory to fortify maize flour, wheat flour, cooking oil, salt and sugar is set to be implemented next month.

The guidelines according to the regulator, were completed following discussions with processors on the existing gaps among local industries.

 “We are doing this to boost the standards of our products so they increasingly reach the international market in big volumes,” Dr Charles Karangwa, the Acting Director-General of FDA.

Prior to the implementation, Karangwa said a series of supervisions will be carried out in processing plants and business that import fortified foods such as supermarkets for biomonitoring among other issues, reports NewTimes.

The Ministry of Finance has already approved the fines and penalties for industry players who will breach the guidelines.

“Our intention is not to fine manufacturers but to ensure that all this (processing) is being done with human health interests,” he noted.

In addition to that, manufacturers have been cautioned on using exaggerated information while advertising and promoting their products especially fortified foods.

The regulator has warned that measures will be taken against them and they need to be consulted before releasing any item to the public.

“Manufacturers should be careful of the content they use in their advertisements and on other promotional materials to avoid misleading people in order to sell big volumes of their products,” Karabgwa said.

To ensure the said strategy will be effective the regulator will work with universities in conducting researches.

“We will be working with the regulator to ensure that what’s said in the advertisements is accurate so that consumers aren’t affected by the substandard products,” said Dr François Niyonzima, the Vice-Chancellor in Charge of Academics and Research at INES Ruhengeri.