Manufacturers defy law to fortify food products

Nakuru County CEC for Health Dr. Zachary Gichuki and the County Director for Public Health and Sanitation Samuel King’ori after a meeting with members of the County Assembly’s health committee at Lake Naivasha Resort.
The county government has blamed local food manufacturers for the poor health of residents.

Speaking yesterday in Naivasha, Health Executive Kariuki Gichuki said failure by the manufacturers to fortify their products with enough iron and other minerals had led to anemia in pregnant women, and stunted growth among children

According to Mr Gichuki, samples of maize and wheat flour, as well as oil and salt, had shown low mineral content in them. The situation has been worsened by the high prices of vegetables and fruits, which could offer alternative sources of nutrients.

Statistics gathered by the Health Department showed cases of stunted growth among children in the county stood at 27 per cent.

Health data

Gichuki said the data had proven that manufacturers do not comply with the law in terms of food fortification.

“The tests indicated that manufacturers have fortified their products with low levels of minerals, vitamins and micro-nutrients leading to increased anaemia and stunted growth,” he said.

He averred that the county was fighting the nutrition challenge by providing food supplements to nursery school children and women seeking ante-natal care in hospitals.

“The county might be endowed with food but the biggest challenge families face is eating poor diet that ends up affecting their health,” said the health executive.

“We want to engage the county assembly to come up with by-laws to make sure that manufacturers fortify their products.”

Leah Kaguara of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition said compliance with the law to fortify flours, oil and salt stood at 28 per cent.

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