Oil fortification law next yr
In a bid to improve people's access to vitamin A through fortification, the government has planned to introduce mandatory oil fortification law by next year, according to sources at the industries ministry.
“The government is actively considering introducing a mandatory law to this end. It has also planned to roll out an awareness campaign to educate consumers about the benefit of vitamin A fortified oil,” a senior official of the ministry told the news agency yesterday.
An estimated 22 percent of preschool age children in the country suffer from vitamin A deficiency, which is the leading cause of blindness in children, according to Unicef.
Fortification of oil requires very little modification of the processing operations and is relatively simple and the oil protects the vitamin A from oxidation during storage and facilitates absorption of vitamin, said Dr Ireen Akhter Chowdhury, nutrition officer of Unicef, Bangladesh.
Industries Minister Dilip Barua said, “So far, everyone in Bangladesh takes about 20.51gm oil a day in their daily foods. That's why, Vitamin A fortified oil will obviously change the Vitamin A deficiency scenario in the country.”
Meanwhile, the ministry with BSTI and oil refiners has already been implementing a project (Jan 2010-Dec 2012) titled “Fortification of Edible Oil in Bangladesh” to that end.
GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition) is providing fund while Unicef giving technical assistance for the project.