The Kenya Bureau of Standards on Friday directed manufacturers of commonly used foods to fortify them with essential nutrients to fight malnutrition.
Kebs Managing Director Mr Charles Ongwae said manufacturers must ensure Vitamin A, iron, Zinc and Folic Acid are added to all their edible fats and oil as well as wheat and maize flour as a prerequisite to renewing their certificate of compliance.
Mr Ongwae made the remarks when he received fortification inspection machine and rapid test kits worth Sh38 million from the Switzerland-based Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
GAIN Country Operations Director Ms Susan Chriodain praised Kenya for making key progress in improving nutrition for all citizens saying their partnership had seen 241 products currently on sale in the country certified as having met the newly introduced requirements for fortification.
GAIN’s Kenya Country Director Adan Kabelo said semi-arid and arid regions are the greatest beneficiaries of the fortified products which boost children’s physical and mental development.
“GAIN is committed to partnering with the Kenyan government to fight malnutrition via giving support to regulatory agencies to ensure only fortified foodstuffs are sold at food outlets,’ said Ms Chriodain.
Kebs’ Technical Regulation Number 62 of June 2012 which was amended last year makes it mandatory for food manufacturers to introduce fortification before seeking certification.
Mr Ongwae said that Kebs inspectors would continue conducting operations across the country to check compliance saying malnutrition currently experienced by food insecure communities could best be fought by fortifying the commonly consumed foodstuffs with minerals and vitamins.
“The large manufacturers of flour and oil have been reached and our next move is to engage the medium sized processing companies in the counties on the importance of adding minerals and vitamins to their products,” he said.
Fortification is the deliberate addition of micronutrients to improve nutritional quality of food supply that will assist human beings enjoy optimal metabolism and normal growth.
Utility Deficiency minerals and vitamins cause Anaemia among women and children, while stunted growth and poor mental development among children has been found to compromise the workforce among the adult population.