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This study aims to update the information on the current status of micronutrient fortification for iron, zinc, folic acid and vitamin A in mandatory fortified food…
This study aims to update the information on the current status of micronutrient fortification for iron, zinc, folic acid and vitamin A in mandatory fortified food vehicles such as cooking oil, wheat and maize flours in Tanzania.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in five regions to analyze the adequacy of micronutrient fortification in mandatory fortified food vehicles. Samples of fortified edible oil (n = 19), wheat flour (n = 12) and maize flour (n = 5) were sampled conveniently from local markets and supermarkets. Samples were analyzed for vitamins (vitamin A and folic acid) and mineral (iron and zinc) content using high-performance liquid chromatography and microwave plasma-atomic emission spectrometer, respectively. Compliance acceptable ranges between the minimum and maximum levels for each nutrient were used as a basis for compliance.
The results showed that 83.3% and 80% of wheat and maize flour samples, respectively, complied with iron fortification standards (p = 0.05). Only 25% of wheat flour samples and 40% of maize flour samples were within the acceptable ranges for zinc fortification (p = 0.05). Nearly 17% and 20% of wheat and maize flour samples, respectively, were within the acceptable ranges for folic acid fortification (p = 0.05). Moreover, about 10.5% of the analyzed cooking oils were adequately fortified with vitamin A (p = 0.05). Except for iron in wheat and maize flours, the levels of other micronutrients in mandatorily fortified foods were out of acceptable ranges.
Mandatory fortification is still far from the established standards, and this calls for a review of the current fortification strategies regarding standards, training, monitoring and enforcement in Tanzania.