UGANDA – The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has received recognition and an award from the USAID-Advancing Nutrition program Uganda for its exceptional efforts in advancing nutrition and promoting large-scale food fortification in the country.
The award was presented during an event organized by USAID in Kampala under the theme, “Dissemination of Learning in the Reduction of Micronutrient Deficiencies through Large-Scale Food Fortification.”
Food fortification involves adding essential vitamins and minerals to commonly consumed food items to enhance their nutritional quality and provide public health benefits with minimal health risks.
In Uganda, this initiative aims to combat malnutrition and deficiencies, including Spina bifida and anemia, by fortifying foods with essential nutrients such as Vitamin A, Iron, Zinc, and Folic Acid.
The practice of food fortification was first implemented in Uganda in 2005. In 2011, the Government of Uganda made food fortification mandatory for specific food categories, including iodine fortification for edible salt, Vitamin A fortification for edible oils and fats, and the addition of a vitamin and mineral premix to wheat flour.
Additionally, fortification of maize flour is mandatory for producers producing 20 metric tons or more per day.
While the Food Fortification Regulation falls under the Ministry of Health, UNBS plays a pivotal role in formulating, monitoring, and enforcing national standards related to food fortification.
This ensures compliance with the regulation and maintains the quality and safety of fortified foods in Uganda.
During the award presentation, Dr. Henry Mwebesa from the Ministry of Health commended UNBS for its dedication and commitment to improving the nutritional status of the nation. UNBS’s efforts contribute to better health outcomes for Ugandans.
UNBS has developed essential standards to support food fortification among manufacturers and importers.
These standards cover a range of fortified food products, including edible oils and fats, wheat flour, composite flour, milled maize products, edible salt, sugar, and general safety requirements for foodstuffs.
To date, UNBS has certified over 83 product brands of fortified foods produced by more than 37 companies.
These certified products meet the required standards and carry valid certification permits. UNBS provides a list of these certified products on its website, further promoting transparency and consumer confidence.
Addressing micronutrient deficiencies
Large-scale food fortification is a critical strategy in addressing micronutrient deficiencies. By fortifying widely consumed food products with essential vitamins and minerals, UNBS, with support from USAID-Advancing Nutrition Uganda, aims to enhance the nutritional value of these products and bridge the gap in micronutrient intake among Ugandans.
Through continued efforts and collaboration with USAID-Advancing Nutrition Uganda, UNBS is poised to make a lasting impact on the health and well-being of the Ugandan population, furthering the nation’s nutrition and food safety objectives.