|Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved a decree to introduce iodine, iron, zinc and vitamin A as compulsory elements that need to be contained in Vietnamese food. — Illustrative Image
HA NOI (VNS) — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved a decree to introduce iodine, iron, zinc and vitamin A as compulsory elements that need to be contained in Vietnamese food.
Decree 09/2016/ND-CP on food fortification released last week and to take effect from March 15 this year regulates that the four micronutrients should meet national technical standards and regulations on food safety.
Salt fortified with iodine, iron and zinc must be added to wheat flour, while vegetable oil that contains soybean oil, coconut oil, canola oil or peanut oil is required to have vitamin A – excluding vegetable oil used in industrial food processing, according to the decree.
Iodine helps to prevent and combat serious diseases such as basedow and deficiency disorders. Iron helps prevent and combat anemia and malnutrition.
Zinc helps to improve height. It also prevents and combats metabolism and cell disorders, bacterial diseases and bone development disorders.
Vitamin A helps prevent exophthalmia, blindness and malnutrition. It also helps build resistance to bacteria.
Despite the fact that Viet Nam has achieved a significant reduction in malnutrition among children under five, malnutrition remains a public health priority.
The Government last October began an integrated nutrition and food security programme to end malnutrition and stunting for children and vulnerable groups in the country.
The programme was among the targets that the country set after it joined 193 nations in signing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the aim of putting an end to hunger and poverty by 2030.
The programme on integrated nutrition and food security targets the most disadvantaged ethnic minorities and those living in poverty, and seeks to reduce inequity with a goal to improve the nutritional status of more than 36 million women of reproductive age and 7.1 million boys and girls under five in the country.
The support focuses on Lao Cai Province in the north and Ninh Thuan Province in the south to gather data and evidence that will guide national policy changes and scale up sustainable and integrated nutrition and food security models.
While national statistics showed a slow but steady decline in malnutrition rates in Viet Nam, poor nutrition still accounts for 45 per cent of total under-five deaths. Last year's figures indicated that 25 per cent of children under five are stunted, while 14.5 per cent are underweight. — VNS