Large-scale food fortification (LSFF) is a key part of the response to the crisis of malnutrition, adding one or more essential nutrients to widely and regularly consumed foods during processing. This impactful and cost-effective intervention can reach billions of people by making commonly consumed foods such as wheat and maize flour, rice and edible oil and condiments such as salt more nutritious, combatting vitamin and mineral deficiencies and protecting human health.
GAIN supports food fortification at global, regional and country levels. In collaboration with our Nutrition Enterprise Unit, we aim to empower fortified foods producers with a whole-of-business approach to fortification, combining fortification quality assurance and control with business support services such as supply chain management, product development, optimising business efficiencies and marketing to incentivise fortified foods producers. We also facilitate development or strengthening of policies, legislation, governance and institutions to deliver quality fortified foods. Since 2002, GAIN has supported the roll-out or strengthening of fortification in approximately 40 low and middle-income countries, investing approximately USD 250 million in grants and technical assistance. As a result of these efforts, 15 countries have now mandated LSFF and we have contributed to mandatory legislation in many more countries. An estimated one billion individuals have sustained access to fortified foods in current GAIN supported programmes, including the GAIN Premix Facility.
LSFF is not a silver bullet to solve the crisis of malnutrition, but it is an essential component of national and regional nutrition strategies which works best when it is mandated as part of a comprehensive public nutrition strategy. Where national mandatory fortification programmes have been implemented well and reached high coverage and quality, they have significantly decreased micronutrient deficiencies.
GAIN is committed to supporting the 2030 agenda of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by improving access to nutritious and safe foods including fortified foods to 1.2 billion people by 2025.
GAIN works to support and strengthen LSFF programmes as a key component of national nutrition and food systems strategies.
LSFF works best when governments enact mandates, requiring that widely consumed foods and condiments are fortified with essential vitamins and minerals. GAIN works with food producers, governments, academia and civil society stakeholders, supporting these national actors to:
- Start or expand fortification programmes where there is a need and an appropriate food vehicle.
- Improve quality and compliance of national LSFF programmes.
- Monitor, measure, troubleshoot, and sustain LSFF to ensure that the most vulnerable communities are reached with high-quality fortified foods and that LSFF programmes have the intended impact.
Read more about the GAIN LSFF Technical Assistance to Regional Communities.
Regionally, GAIN facilitates and strengthens human capacity and systems strengthening for production, regulatory and impact monitoring of fortified foods. We also support initiatives to improve trade and regional markets for fortified foods collaborating with organisations such as the East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC) on systems strengthening across its member states, Southern African Development Community on development of regional minimum standards for fortified foods and Smarter Futures on scaling up food fortification in Africa. Under the UNICEF-GAIN Brighter Futures partnership, we supported South Asia Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) prioritizing salt iodization as one of the interventions in SAARC's nutrition action framework as well as harmonised standards for salt iodization for the West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) region which were subsequently extended to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Fortification initiatives, tools or platforms with fortification data developed by GAIN, alone or in partnership with other organisations.
- Fortification Management Information System (FortifyMIS), used by government monitoring agencies and producers for quality assurance and quality control
- FortiMApp for fortification data collection at market level
- FortiCheck for fortification data collection at production level
- GAIN is currently leading a ground breaking project to implement a Digital Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) System for Food Fortification, involving a consortium of public and private sector partners that will enable countries generate, govern, share and utilize traceable data on food fortification within factories and markets. The digital system is being developed as a global public good with initial deployment in Bangladesh, India and Nigeria.
- In collaboration with the Food Fortification Initiative (FFI) and Kansas State University, GAIN developed an online accredited flour and rice fortification monitoring programme available to governments, industries, NGOs and other stakeholders globally.
- To date, GAIN Fortification Assessment Coverage Tool (FACT) indicators have been included in surveys in at least 20 countries.
- Read more on the Uptake of GAIN Publications.
- A policy guidance document which serves as a resource for those responsible for food fortification policy development and programme implementation.
- Technical assistance to the WHO/CDC manual for millers, regulators, and programme managers on flour fortification monitoring
- Technical assistance on EU guidance note on food fortification through 2FAS
- Guidance on micronutrient testing of fortified foods
Global advocacy initiatives
GAIN helps to coordinate and convene a number of global LSFF platforms:
- The ENABLE Platform – a technical hub offering audit, credit, procurement, and capacity building services. ENABLE includes the GAIN Premix Facility, which helps countries to procure high-quality, low-cost vitamin and mineral premix;
- European Commission Fortification Advisory Services;
- The Global Fortification Data Exchange - this platform collates fortification data for 196 countries globally.
- Secretariat for the Global Fortification Technical Advisory Group – a community of practice that includes over 20 international partners working in fortification.
- Fortify Staple Foods and Staple Crops solution cluster of the United Nations Food Systems Summit.
- GAIN helps hosting Future Fortified Series. 2015 Global Fortification Summit and 2020/21 Global Fortification Summit
- GAIN helps Nutrition Connect - this platform mobilises knowledge, shares experiences, and stimulates dialogue on public private engagement for nutrition including LSFF.
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