ZIMBABWE – All local oil producing companies have complied with Government’s mandatory fortification directive with some firms having bought their own processing machinery, Oil Expressers Association of Zimbabwe (OEAZ) president Busisa Moyo has said.

The fortification programme entails adding minute levels of vitamins and minerals to foods during processing to prevent nutritional deficiencies.

Mr Moyo told this publication that the fortification programme was completed at the beginning of the year.

“I can safely say that all cooking oil producing companies have completely complied with the mandatory fortification with some companies having bought their fortification machinery.

According to the Government fortification programme, wheat, flour and maize meal will be fortified with Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, folic acid, iron and zinc.

Cooking oil is fortified with Vitamin A and D and sugar with Vitamin A.

Government’s Zimbabwe National Food Fortification Strategy (2014-2018) targets to eliminate micro-nutrient deficiencies after the 2012 Zimbabwe Micro-Nutrient Survey revealed that nearly 1.5 million adults had anaemia that affected work performance.

It also revealed that 19 percent of children between six and 59 months were Vitamin A deficient, and 72 and 31% had iron and anaemic deficiencies respectively.

In June last year, Heath and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa, said millers and bakers who did not comply with mandatory food fortification-  particularly for maize meal, sugar, cooking oil and wheat flour- would have their operating licences cancelled.

Customs duty still applies making the whole venture expensive to the consumer.

The Herald Zimbabwe