Wheat Flour and Rice Fortification Status in the Pacific Region

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Fortifying imported rice would likely benefit most Solomon Islands residents as rice is widely consumed and nearly all rice is imported. Photo on Savo Island by Becky Tsang.

In this region, we are working with Solomon Islands leaders to support mandatory fortification of imported rice. Nearly all the rice consumed there is imported. Wheat in Solomon Islands is also imported, but it is domestically milled and fortified according to national regulations. Our work in Solomon Islands is funded through Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Also in this region, Australia and Fiji have reported improvements in nutrient status among the population due to wheat flour fortification.

In 2009, fortifying bread flour with folic acid was mandated in Australia. Since then, the following three studies have demonstrated an improved health impact from this program:

In Fiji, the prevalence of iron, folate and zinc deficiency significantly reduced after wheat flour was fortified, according to a 2010 report from the National Food and Nutrition Centre. The most change was in the prevalence of zinc deficiency which dropped from 39.3% before fortification to 0% after fortification. Also, anemia in women of child bearing age improved from 40.3% before fortification to 27.6% after fortification.

Both wheat flour and rice are important cereal grains in this region. Other than New Zealand and Australia, most countries import wheat and rice. A key difference is that wheat is usually milled domestically, while the imported rice is already milled. This difference has important implications for rice fortification. See this worksheet to help determine if requiring fortification of rice imports is feasible. Also see these rice fortification resources.

Fuel and food prices, growing populations, and increasing urbanization are changing the diets of people throughout this region. These changing patterns very often result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies as less land is available for local production of fruits and vegetables. Fortifying staple foods has the potential to impact millions of people here. The countries in this region and the legislative status of grain fortification are listed below. Click on the country name to see more information.

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
American SamoaTerritoryTerritoryTerritory
Christmas IslandTerritoryTerritoryTerritory
Cocos (Keeling) IslandsTerritoryTerritoryTerritory
Cook Islands------
French PolynesiaTerritoryTerritoryTerritory
Marshall Islands------
Micronesia, Federated States of------
New CaledoniaTerritoryTerritoryTerritory
New Zealand------
Norfolk IslandTerritoryTerritoryTerritory
Northern Mariana IslandsTerritoryTerritoryTerritory
Papua New Guinea----Mandatory
Pitcairn IslandsTerritoryTerritoryTerritory
Solomon IslandsMandatory----
Wake IslandTerritoryTerritoryTerritory
Wallis and Futuna IslandsTerritoryTerritoryTerritory

Pacific - 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.
  • Voluntary: Country has standard for fortification, but fortification is not mandatory.
  • Territory: Countries that are not listed as United Nations countries or observers or are not recognized by at least one UN country are listed as a territory.
  • Dashes in the table indicate that no information is available. Please send missing information to info@ffinetwork.org

In updating or creating new policy documents for fortification, review this checklist of key topics to include in legislation, standards and monitoring guidelines.




Asia-Pacific Conference on Human Genetics

08 November 2017

Samoa Consultations

15 March 2011

Fiji Food Security Meeting

04 February 2011


2017 Annual Report
21 March 2018

Fortification for the Poorest of the Urban Poor
06 June 2017

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

Regional Resources

New Zealand editors writes that fortifying with folic acid would be "triumph for the greater good."

Fortifying with folic acid lowers homocysteine among elderly Australians

Potential for rice and wheat flour fortification in Western Pacific region

Impact of iron fortified flour in child bearing age women in Fiji - 2010 report