Sindh Food Fortification Bill 2019 makes food fortification mandatory in the province.
Recently Sindh Assembly has done a highly important legislation regarding promotion of food fortification in the province. Sindh Food Fortification Bill 2019 has been passed, which make food fortification mandatory. The Food Fortification Program, supported by DfID, has provided technical support to Food and Health Departments of Government of Sindh in developing this special law i.e. Sindh Food Fortification Bill 2019 to make the fortification of oil/ghee & wheat flour mandatory in the province.
The Food Fortification Program was launched in the light of findings from the last National Nutrition Survey (2011) which had revealed that Pakistan has some of the worst rates of malnutrition in the world, threatening its social and economic development. According to the survey, about 51% of women of reproductive age were anemic and 37% iron deficient. Furthermore, 66.8% women of reproductive age, 68.9% pregnant women and 40% children were Vitamin D Deficient. The National Nutrition Survey also highlights that 42% non-pregnant, 46% pregnant women and 54% children were vitamin A deficient. These deficiencies are also at severe level in Sindh. Due to high level of micronutrient malnutrition, Pakistan is losing 3% of GDP annually. Besides that it has severe adverse impact on learning outcomes of children and working capacity of our adults.
To address the micronutrient deficiencies across the board amongst the population, Health and Food Departments are supporting large scale food fortification program with support from DfID, whose aim is to improve micronutrient deficiencies through adequately fortification of wheat flour and edible oil/ghee in the whole of Pakistan including Sindh province.
This Bill aims to mandate fortification of wheat flour and ghee/ edible oil to address and alleviate nutritional deficiencies. This will promote the nutritional status and health of the people. Effective fortification efforts depend upon an effective overall regulatory system. The food fortification law will strengthen existing enforcement and related provisions in the existing food laws to ensure the effective regulation of specified foodstuff. The law will apply to all wheat flour and ghee/edible oil imported, manufactured, distributed, traded, or sold for human consumption in the Province, or manufactured for export. The law will not provide any exemptions for commercial production of wheat flour and ghee/ edible oil.
The Bill provides a complete mechanism for mandatory fortification, availability of premix of micro-nutrients, registration of manufacturers / mill owners and importers of these foods, warranties, quality assurance, packing, labeling, transportation, storage and display of these foods. The Sindh Food Authority will have sufficient powers for enforcement and implementation of this law. Search, seizure, inspection, investigation and lab analyses are also provided in the Bill. The Bill also provides for performance audit, annual reporting and provincial nutrition survey to ensure implementation of the law.
The Bill is approved from the Sindh cabinet and soon it shall be tabled in Provincial Assembly”