Middle East

Wheat flour is the main cereal grain consumed in this region. In 1978 Saudi Arabia became one of the first countries in this region to require wheat flour fortification. In the 1990s, several more countries in the region began fortifying wheat flour with encouragement from international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the Micronutrient Initiative (MI).

Oman Flour Mills began fortifying flour with iron and folic acid on a trial basis for a regional workshop held in Oman in October 1996. By the time of the workshop, the flour was fortified successfully, making Oman the first country worldwide to achieve national-scale flour fortification with folic acid. Most countries with flour fortification mandates now include this essential B vitamin in their flour fortification standards. Countries which track the results have seen 30 to 70% declines in pregnancies affected by neural tube defects. See the report.

This region is also a global leader with another nutrient as Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Jordan are the first places to fortify flour with vitamin D.

Fortification Legislation Status by Country and Grain

Click on any of the column headings to sort the list by Country, Wheat Flour, Maize Flour, or Rice.

Country Wheat Flour Maize Flour Rice
BahrainMandatory----
Iran, Islamic Republic ofMandatory----
IraqMandatory----
JordanMandatory----
KuwaitMandatory----
LebanonNo Fortification----
OmanMandatory----
Palestine, Occupied TerritoryMandatory----
QatarVoluntary----
Saudi ArabiaMandatory----
Syrian Arab RepublicNo Fortification----
United Arab EmiratesVoluntary----
YemenMandatory----

Middle East - Fortification Status

Our definition of the legislative status is:

  • Mandatory: Country has legislation that has the effect of mandating fortification of one or more types of wheat or maize flour or rice with at least iron or folic acid.
  • Planning: There is written evidence that the country's government is acting to prepare, draft, and/or move legislation for mandatory fortification.
  • Voluntary: Most countries allow voluntary fortification. We use this category if at least 50 % of the industrially-milled wheat or maize flour or rice produced in the country is being fortified through voluntary efforts.
  • Territory: An area under the jurisdiction of another country, according to the 2015 World Almanac. We assume the territory follows the food regulations of the governing body and will not have its own fortification legislation. See a list of territories.
  • No fortification: None of the above.
  • Dashes in the table below indicate that no information is available. Please send information to info@ffinetwork.org

Most fortification legislation mandates address only the most commonly consumed grain in the country. Click on the country name in the table above to see the amount of each grain available in the food supply, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Contact

Events

EMRO Harmonization

20 February 2012

Regional Nutrition Conference

29 March 2011

News

20 Years Later: The Legacy of an Oman Workshop
17 November 2016

Flour Fortification Resulted in 35,500 Healthier Babies Last Year
15 July 2016

2015 Year in Review
23 March 2016

Systematic Review Yields Recommendations for Flour Fortification Programs
04 October 2015

Study Links Flour Fortification to Reduced Anemia Prevalence
07 July 2015

Regional Resources

Decline in anemia among pre-school children in Jordan after wheat flour fortification began

Flour Fortification in the Islamic Republic of Iran: Sustainable Route to Improved Health

Flour Millers Toolkit in Arabic

Flour fortification information in Arabic