A one day workshop on food fortification strategies is organized today, Tuesday 16th of December, by the National Committee of CODEX Alimentarius and Nestlé Senegal.
This event is an opportunity to bring together the various stakeholders active in the field of fortification to review of existing initiatives and determine how partners can collaborate on the development of a national program of mandatory and voluntary fortification for the benefit of the Senegalese population.
Malnutrition due to deficiency or lack of micronutrients is a global issue in Africa. It affects people of all ages and from all socio-economic groups. However, children aged under five years and women of childbearing age are the most vulnerable populations.
In Senegal, a study by the Nutrition Laboratory of the Science and Technical Faculty of the Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar have shown that iron deficiency affects 82,4% of children under five and 39% of women of childbearing age, while zinc deficiency affects 42,8% and 58% of these populations respectively.
The fortification of staple foods was identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an effective strategy to prevent and control micronutrient deficiencies. In Senegal, the unit responsible for fighting malnutrition, known as Cellule de Lutte contre la Malnutrition, has implemented the Program for Strengthening Food Fortification to address this issue.
As world leader in Nutrition, Health and Wellness, Nestlé is committed to help reduce the risk of under-nutrition through micronutrient fortification of affordable, nutritious foods and beverages. Thus, Maggi culinary products, Gloria and Nido milks, Cerelac infant cereals, and Nesquick chocolate drinks are fortified with micronutrients. In addition, Nestlé Senegal is an active member of the Senegalese Committee for the micronutrient fortification of foods, COSFAM.
These activities are part of Creating shared value, the approach Nestlé takes to business as a whole. The company aims to build a business capable of both delivering superior shareholder value while helping people improve their nutrition, health and wellness. In addition to nutrition, Nestlé focuses on water and rural development.
“Nestlé Senegal is tackling the issue of malnutrition through the voluntary fortification of our products. Around 70,000 units of fortified products are sold monthly in Senegal. However, the nationwide micronutrient gap is huge and the contribution of our fortified products is small in comparison. Therefore, we want to work in a collaborative manner with governments and other partners to further increase the consumer’s nutrition and health”, said Jean-Christophe Coubat, Managing Director of Nestlé Senegal.
In addition to Nestlé and the National Committee of the CODEX, industries, COSFAM, consumer associations, women associations and restorers, as well as the Journalists Association for Health and Environment are taking part in the event.