By Kabuye Ronald
Uganda’s maize milling companies are still reluctant about implementing the food and drug acts that requires them to fortify the maize flour before its put on the market.
Speaking during the regional stakeholders engagement as a pre event to commemoration of the world Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus day due on the 25th of this month, the National Coordinator for Uganda Consumers Protection Association, Tereeza Nanozi said that the recent survey done on the foods on market indicated that only 10% of the maize flour on market is fortified which puts at risk the lives of the consumers especially those with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus condition that requires them to have victims and minerals.
Nanozi also revealed that the food fortification of Wheat flour and Cooking oil stands at 90% and 94% respectively thus putting at task the ministry of trade and Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) to be more vigilant in order to save the lives of the vulnerable people.
Vincent Kasozi, a senior certification officer with Uganda National Bureau of Standard attributed low level of compliance on the premix which is imported that mostly turns out not to meet the required standards after mixing or blending it in the food.
“The Manufacturers of the Wheat and maize flour don’t make but rather import the “premix” a vehicle for the nutrients, they use it as they it is supposed to be used but turn out not to meet the required standard thus the problem is not with manufacturers but the premix. We have been to mills and work with them, do all the calculations together put still they turnout not to meet the required standards.” Said Kasozi
Kasozi also attributed the low compliance when it comes to maize floor to the weakness in the law that requires fortification in relation to production capacity per day.
“The law makes it mandatory for a maize and wheat flour manufacturer to fortify if the production is at least 20 tons per day and puts the declaration responsibility to them still. And yet the maize milling industry is filled with small scale manufacturers so that makes our hands tied. For the case of the cooking oil, it’s the companies that produce 10 metric tons every after 24 hours that are supposed to fortify and the compliance is at least good since most of the manufacturers are big players” said Kasozi.
It should be noted that people with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus condition are required to feed on food with victims and minerals and thus noncompliance by food producing companies put theirs at risk.