FFI Newsletter March 2013
Revised Tool Kit Available
Can be used as manual for flour millers
One of the first advocacy pieces that the FFI network of partners created was a Flour Millers Tool Kit. The original piece, created in 2006, has been updated and is available on the FFI website.
The revised Tool Kit includes sample charts, illustrations, photos from various partners and video links. It has recently been demonstrated in meetings in Ethiopia and Kosovo, and it can serve as a manual for flour millers. It can also be used to help public and civic sector partners understand what is expected of flour millers as they fortify flour.
Jeff Gwirtz, one of the authors of the original Tool Kit, led the updating process. Jeff is an adjunct professor in the Department of Grain Science and Industry at Kansas State University and is a technical advisor for the International Association of Operative Millers and FFI. He has a doctorate in grain science from Kansas State University, and he has worked in flour milling and food technology.
The Tool Kit can be downloaded in its entirety here or in individual sections as linked to the headings in the table below. The Tool Kit is in a Power Point format. Using it in “normal” view lets you move through the Tool Kit one page at a time and read the additional notes at the bottom of each slide. Viewing the Tool Kit as a slide show allows you to follow links to the six sections and follow links to specific topics from each section’s table of contents.
For milling questions not answered in the Tool Kit, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Highlights of the sections include:
Setting Up the Mill
Advocacy and Marketing
Modified Spot Test Reveals NaFeEDTA in Flour
A modified version of the iron spot test has been shown to effectively reveal the presence of sodium iron EDTA (NaFeEDTA) in fortified flour. The process was demonstrated during a meeting in South Africa in March with results shown in this photo.
The traditional iron spot test is a common qualitative test used in flour mills to detect iron fortificants in flour. It uses three reagents and causes red spots to appear if the flour is fortified with most iron compounds. However with NaFeEDTA, using hydrogen peroxide as one of the reagents has the opposite effect as it causes the spots to disappear. When hydrogen peroxide is excluded as a reagent, the spot test can be used as a qualitative test with flour fortified with NaFeEDTA.
The traditional iron spot test is formally Method 40-40.01: Iron Qualitative Method as approved by the American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC). FFI will seek AACC approval of this modified test for NaFeEDTA.
NaFeEDTA is considered highly bioavailable. It is the only form of iron recommended when fortifying flour with an extraction rate of 80% or more. High extraction flour, often called whole wheat flour, also has high phytate content which inhibits iron absorption. Consequently a highly bioavailable form of iron is needed for fortification of high extraction flours.
How Much Flour in Your Country is Fortified?
Once a year we update the estimate of how much industrially milled wheat flour is fortified around the world. We need your help with that process.
Please let us know how much wheat flour is fortified in your country through either mandatory or voluntary efforts. Our goal is specifically related to industrially milled flour, so we do not need figures for wheat flour from chakki or hammer mills. You can reply with either a percentage or a number of metric tons per month or year that is fortified.
We will compile these country figures to estimate the amount of wheat flour that is fortified globally. Send your estimates to us at email@example.com by Tuesday, 2 April. We will share the revised estimate with the FFI Executive Management Team when it meets 16-17 April in Atlanta.
New Tool to Help Track Fortification Trends
A manual is being developed to help country leaders track trends in two areas:
- Household coverage of quality fortified flour and foods made with fortified flour
- Health outcomes that can reasonably be improved through fortification
Representatives from six countries in Africa and representatives from multiple partners gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa, in March to help develop the manual. They chose to name it FORTIMAS for Fortification Monitoring and Surveillance.
FORTIMAS users will assess trends in a limited number of program coverage and micronutrient status indicators in easy-to-reach target populations. Large-scale surveys, such as the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), are usually conducted at 5 to 10 year intervals. The FORTIMAS system will help countries identify trends in the interim period, such as whether maximum household coverage is reached and sustained in a given geographic area, and whether the health status of those who regularly consume fortified flour is improving.
A key benefit of FORTIMAS is that it can be used with data already collected for other purposes. For example, information on the number of newborns with neural tube defects (NTDs) is regularly gathered by large birthing hospitals in capital cities. The number of NTDs can be compared year after year in these hospitals to identify success or potential problems with the flour fortification program.
FORTIMAS will be finalized later this year then applied in selected countries in Africa. A French translation will also be available. Developing this guide has been a project of Smarter Futures, a partnership among the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, FFI, AkzoNobel, Helen Keller International (HKI) and the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (IF).
See photos from the meeting.
Kosovo Leaders Trained for Fortification Success
To facilitate the initiation of a well-functioning flour fortification monitoring system in Kosovo, training sessions for inspectors, lab technicians, flour millers and government representatives were held 11-14 March in the capital city, Pristina. The aim of the trainings, organized by UNICEF Kosovo, Kosovo’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development and FFI, was to increase the capacity of stakeholders to follow through with their responsibilities related to the process of monitoring flour fortification. The practical sessions were conducted at Universal Food flour mill and the National Institute of Public Health of Kosovo.
In addition, a one-day meeting brought together individuals from various sectors to discuss sustainability measures and thoroughly review the proposed "sublaw" which will direct the implementation of the fortification mandate. This legislative act stipulates the levels of fortificants to be added to flour and describes labeling requirements, flour safety and control regulations and repercussions for non-compliance. This supporting legislation is undergoing final revisions and will soon be submitted for review and approval by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development.
Final preparations for the launch of Kosovo’s flour fortification program are underway. Kosovo’s Flour Mill Association, in collaboration with UNICEF, continues to support its members as they ready their mills for fortification. Also, a fortification logo and campaign poster have been designed to raise public awareness about fortified flour.
See meeting photos.
Bangladesh Completes Its First National Micronutrient Survey
Results of the first National Micronutrient Survey in Bangladesh confirm that vitamin and mineral deficiencies are a public health problem in the small, densely populated country. The population in Bangladesh is generally very poor, and almost half live on less than one dollar a day. Much of the country is chronically prone to flooding and cyclones; these natural disasters can make the poor especially vulnerable.
The survey was the combined effort of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), UNICEF, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the Institute of Public Health and Nutrition (IPHN). The survey looked at anemia, iron, zinc, iodine and vitamins A, B12, folate status.
- 20 % of children aged between 6 and 59 months have vitamin A deficiency
- 31 % of children aged between 6 and 59 months are suffering from anaemia
- 21% of children aged 6-14 years are vitamin A deficient and 17% have anaemia
- Iron deficiency is 11 % for children between 5 and 59 months of age, 4% among those between 6 and 11 years of age and 7 % for non-pregnant, non-lactating women
- 44.6% of preschool age children are zinc deficient
- 57.3% of non-pregnant, non-lactating women are zinc deficient
One purpose of the survey was to provide a baseline to measure progress in nutrition and health interventions in the country. The next step is to discuss specific interventions, including fortification, to overcome the micronutrient deficiencies. Bangladesh currently has a mandatory salt iodization program. The Government of Bangladesh and national and international partners are studying the feasibility of fortifying cooking oil with vitamin A. Trials are also underway to test the effectiveness of fortifying rice in the country’s public distribution system.
First "Hidden Hunger Congress" Includes Forum on Fortification
The first international Hidden Hunger Congress was held 6-9 March at Hohenheim University in Stuttgart, Germany, to raise awareness about vitamin and mineral deficiencies and review practical options for preventing and addressing micronutrient malnutrition. Supplementation, micronutrient powders, fortification of staple foods and biofortification were highlighted. FFI network partners participated in the event and organized forum sessions. For more information about the Hidden Hunger Congress, please visit https://hiddenhunger.uni-hohenheim.de/91386.
FFI Newsletter March 2013 Table of Contents
- Revised Tool Kit Available
- Modified Spot Test Reveals NaFeEDTA in Flour
- How Much Flour in Your Country is Fortified?
- New Tool to Help Track Fortification Trends
- Kosovo Leaders Trained for Fortification Success
- Bangladesh Completes Its First National Micronutrient Survey
- First "Hidden Hunger Congress" Includes Forum on Fortification
Consultation: Technical considerations for maize flour and corn meal fortification in public health
8 - 9 April 2013
FFI Executive Management Team Meeting
16 -17 April 2013
Food Quality and Safety Training
23 - 25 April 2013
Awareness and Partner Collaboration Meeting