Diversity and compliance of fortified oils and flours with national quality standards
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Food fortification is a strategy used in the prevention and management of micronutrient deficiencies because it aims at increasing essential minerals and vitamins intake in frequently consumed processed foods like edible salt, vegetable oil, sugar, and wheat and maize flours. This study set out to establish the diversity of fortification and nutritional compliance of particular food vehicles that included cooking oil, wheat and maize flours on the Ugandan market with national quality standards. A cross sectional study was carried out in the four regions in Uganda which included Western, Northern, Eastern and Central regions to determine the types of fortified flour and cooking oil on the market, while sampling from the major towns in these regions. A laboratory analysis of 28 cooking oil brands, 7 brands of maize flour and 24 brands of wheat flour was carried out to collect both quantitative and qualitative data as regards to vitamin A and iron content. The key findings indicated that 27 out of 28 brands of cooking oil were fortified with Vitamin A ie Fortune, Kimbo, Fortune gold, Sunseed, Tamu, Tilly, Fortune butto, Golden fry, Mukwano, Pembe oil, Roki, Kasuku, Cowboy, Rina, Sunny, Best fry, Kitamu, Noor, Crystal, Rinsun, Star fry, Ufuta, Nile cooking oil, Chipsy, Star goldy, Kayaata and Virgin gold except Sunvita. Six out of 7 brands of maize flour were fortified with Iron ie Joogo, Meal life, Maganjo, Supreme, Ugali and Pearl’s except Dola. Eighteen out of 24 brands of wheat flour collected were fortified with Iron ie Azam, Drum, Kengrow, Exe, Pembe, Supreme, Blue ribbon, Safy, Farina, Ndovu, Kaswa, Tembo, Everyday, Exe all purpose, Exe self-raising, Exe mandazi, Exe brown bread and Horse except Jiko, Modern, Nano Unga, Nile, Dei and Nano. All the 27 brands of cooking oil complied with national fortification standards of 20-40mg/kg. All the six brands of maize flour complied with the nationalregulatory standards of 10-30mg/kg while all the 18 brands of wheat flour were above the minimum regulatory limit of 20mg/kg. The study observed that majority of the product brands for cooking oil, wheat and maize flour with a claim of fortification were actually complying with national fortification standard. It was observed that there was a number of maize and wheat flours on the market that were not collected because they did not have the fortification claim, implying that they were not fortified with any micro nutrients as mandated by the Ministry of Health. Continued monitoring and evaluation of the fortification compliance is recommended.