Prime Minister of Vietnam signs a decree to mandate food fortification
On 28 January 2016, Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Tan Dung, signed a decree to mandate food fortification as a means of improving people’s vitamin and mineral intake. Decree 09/2016/ND-CP on food fortification released last week and to take effect from 15 March 2016 regulates that the four micronutrients should meet national technical standards and regulations on food safety.
Salt will be fortified with iodine, iron and zinc must be added to wheat flour, vegetable oil that contains soybean oil, coconut oil, canola oil or peanut oil is required to have vitamin A – excluding vegetable oil used in industrial food processing, according to the decree.
- Iodine helps to prevent and combat serious diseases such as basedow and deficiency disorders.
- Iron helps prevent and combat anemia and malnutrition.
- Zinc helps to improve height. It also prevents and combats metabolism and cell disorders, bacterial diseases and bone development disorders.
- Vitamin A helps prevent exophthalmia, blindness and malnutrition. It also helps build resistance to bacteria.
Despite the fact that Viet Nam has achieved a significant reduction in malnutrition among children under five, malnutrition remains a public health priority. The Government, last October, began an integrated nutrition and food security programme to end malnutrition and stunting for children and vulnerable groups in the country. The programme was among the targets that the country set after it joined 193 nations in signing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the aim of putting an end to hunger and poverty by 2030.
According to the Food Fortification Initiative (FFI), currently in Viet Nam, 54% of pregnant women and 63% of children younger than 5 years old are iron deficient and/or anemic, 80% of pregnant women and 69.4% children younger than 5 years old are zinc deficient, and 35% of lactating women have low concentrations of Vitamin A in their breast milk. It is crucial to address these deficiencies as they have long-term negative consequences on a child’s growth and development, as well as the mother’s health.
The fortification decree is the result of several years of work from national leaders with support from partners such as UNICEF, the FFI, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, and the Iodine Global Network.