Last week, on the sidelines of the Micronutrient Forum 2016 in Cancun, Mexico, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Project Healthy Children (PHC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which aims to improve the quality of fortified foods in low- and middle-income countries.
The two organizations are committed to working with food control and food industry in countries that have mandated staple food fortification, to help improve overall enforcement, quality assurance, and quality control. Today, 86 countries mandate the fortification of at least one cereal grain with essential vitamins and minerals, such as iron, folic acid, and zinc; however, overall, test results indicate that the quality and compliance of these fortified foods is low, particularly in Africa.
GAIN and PHC will look to leverage their respective skills and networks to: build leadership in country; improve regulations and enforcement regimes; advocate for increased national budget allocations; improve industry quality assurance practices; and engage with civil society to build leadership in country. This will, in turn, improve the quality of fortified foods, increase intakes of essential vitamins and minerals among vulnerable populations, and boost the overall health of entire communities.
Laura Rowe, President of PHC and Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director, GAIN were delighted to sign the agreement during the Micronutrient Forum. “Fortification is a life changing intervention if it is delivered to the right people at the right time and at the right quality,” said Lawrence Haddad. ‘Our new partnership with PHC, bridging government leadership and business solutions, will significantly increase the likelihood of this happening’.
“Globally, there is limited data on how compliant fortification programs are resulting in an urgent need to ensure governments and programs have the capacity and tools required to effectively track and take action around food quality issues”, said Laura Rowe, President, PHC. “We are excited to work together with GAIN, leveraging our joint expertise, to make a meaningful contribution that we hope will ultimately improve how programs are effectively executed”.
PHC’s mission is to address micronutrient malnutrition by providing technical assistance to national governments and food producers in the design and implementation of comprehensive fortification programs. By providing essential micronutrients such as iron, folic acid, zinc, vitamin A, and iodine, PHC aims to enable governments to more effectively protect their populations from debilitating conditions caused by malnutrition.
PHC works with both large-scale and small-scale producers of staple food products in order to reach the most vulnerable populations with essential vitamins and minerals.
We are honored to be part of this important partnership with GAIN ensuring millions of families can have access to the fortified nutritious foods they deserve.
Thank you to all of our supporters.