GAMBIA – The Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA) of the Gambia has launched the country’s Food Fortification Regulations 2020, developed to serve as a regulatory tool for compliance and enforcement on edible fats and oil, wheat flour and food grade salt and to regulate imported and locally produced goods.

The project is funded by European Union (EU) and supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in partnership with the Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA).

The launching, presided over by Vice President Dr. Isatou Touray, was part of the European Union four years project themed “Improving Food Security and Nutrition in the Gambia through Food Fortification.”

VP Touray, speaking on behalf of the president, said in the Gambia, it has been established scientifically that micronutrient deficiencies are common among women and children.

She said the national food fortification program seeks to enforce mandatory fortification of key essential food products with the right micronutrients.

Touray informed that this approach will ensure that the population will easily access and consume food enriched with the target micronutrients.

“The Gambia has committed to improve nutrition by endorsing the 2014 Roma declaration on nutrition,” she said.

The Rome Declaration on Nutrition commits countries to eradicate hunger and prevent all forms of malnutrition worldwide, particularly undernutrition in children, anemia in women and children and other micronutrient deficiencies as well as reverse the trend in obesity.

Madam Touray said food safety is important for the protection and safety of the population, adding that the work of the authority is expected to contribute to consumer health and safety.

The vice president called on the media to broadcast information on food safety, quality and nutrition and facilitate behavioral change among their population for better health outcomes.

“I wish to emphasize the government’s support for the effective enforcement of this regulation,” she said on behalf of president Barrow.

President Barrow said Gambia is among the few countries in Africa with a modernized control system, noting the country now has a food safety agency that is responsible for all food safety matters.

This modern system, he said, allows effective and efficient control of food safety in the entire food value chain and added food safety is essential in the protection of the health and safety of the population.

Dr. Amadou Sowe, chairman of FSQA board of directors, said the Gambia’s health statistics over the years continue to show challenges in micronutrient deficiencies and its negative impact on the population.

He called on the private sector to adopt the regulation and contribute to the health and well-being of all Gambians and non-Gambians in the country.

He said the objective of the project is to contribute to national household food security in strengthening the laws and regulations for food fortification, thus strengthening guidance to public, private and other stakeholders on food fortification that meets international standards.