Fortifying Food With Vitamins in the West Bank

May 13, 2013 ANERA
Categories:
Health, Mother and Child, West Bank
Locations:
From 2008 to 2010, ANERA implemented the USAID-funded Micronutrient Fortification Project (A2Z), improving vitamin-fortification of flour manufactured by Palestinian mills in the West Bank.

The Reality

The typical Palestinian diet lacks the proper combination of micronutrients. Vitamin A deficiency increases the risk of blindness, while deficiencies in Vitamin B12 and folic acid can be detrimental to the health of pregnant women and their babies. There was a clear need for food fortification in the West Bank, especially in dietary staples like wheat flour. Similarly, food inspectors in Palestine needed the proper training and support to accurately test the level of micronutrients in food samples.

ANERA’s Response

From 2008 to 2010, ANERA partnered with the Academy for Educational Development on the USAID-funded Micronutrient Fortification Project (A2Z) to improve vitamin-fortification of flour manufactured by Palestinian mills in the West Bank. The project supported the design, regulation, implementation, marketing, supervision, monitoring and evaluation of food fortification practices.

How It Worked

Food inspectors at the Food Safety Division at the Environment Health Department conducted inspections of factories, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and supermarkets in all ten West Bank governorates.

Inspectors drew samples and ensured that sanitary conditions were met.

Food inspectors went through a series of training workshops on the technical principles, handling, sampling, manufacturing of flour fortification and salt iodization, as well as proper management of fortification initiatives. One hundred and thirty-three food inspectors participated in the workshops.

Meet a Couple West Bank Food Inspectors

Arafat Kabaha, a food inspector at the Palestinian Ministry of Health, explains one of the methods for testing liquids.Arafat Kabaha, a food inspector at the Ministry of Health: “For each [food] product, we draw between three to five samples. Although we are short on equipment, we always make sure we’re drawing sufficient samples and that the samples reach the Central Public Health Lab (CPHL) for analysis unharmed.” Read more >>

 

A Palestinian lab worker tests food samples for vitamin levels, part of ANERA's food fortification work in the West Bank.Maha Al-Barghouti, head of medicine analysis at the West Bank Central Health Laboratory: “We used to follow quite cumbersome testing methods for Vitamin A and iron, but through this training, we’ve learned easier and more sensitive methods, which we immediately adopted and implemented.” Read more >>