LAHORE - GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition) has provided equipment to eight public sector and one private sector laboratory to test fortified foods.

German expert Dr Anna Zhenchuk provided training to designated staff from these laboratories at a two day workshop concluded here on Tuesday.

The two-day bilateral technical workshop for the laboratory staff of laboratories of Pakistan and Afghanistan received a great response from the public sector, industry and development partners.

Closing ceremony of the workshop was attended by representatives of industry, regulatory bodies, government representatives and development partners.

The participants of the workshop claimed that the initiative was likely to mark a real difference by enabling these laboratories to respond the need for testing iron in fortified wheat flour, iodine in salt and vitamin.

Additional Food Secretary Mustajab Ahmad Karamat, while addressing the ceremony, said that the food department had key role for ensuring supply of nutritious and quality wheat flour to public.

“Fortification of wheat flour with iron and folic acid is one of our priorities to address the iron deficiency anaemia,” he added.

He claimed that the Punjab government had made amendments in pure food rules to make fortification of wheat flour mandatory to address malnutrition issue. He also appreciated the support of GAIN for organising the training and providing equipment to the public sector laboratories.

Munawar Hussain, Project Manager GAIN, said that they would continue supporting public and private sectors to ensure that people of Pakistan were getting required minerals and vitamins in their food to strive and thrive. He further claimed that they had supported eight public sector and one private sector laboratory in the first phase and afterwards they would strengthen more laboratories to enable them monitor fortified staple foods in the country.

Asim Raza Ahmad, Chairman Central Pakistan Flour Mills Association said, that the association has central laboratory to serve all millers to test their wheat flour free of cost. He said that GAIN had helped them in strengthening their laboratory to test iron in fortified wheat flour at PFMA laboratory. He said that 30 flour mills were starting fortification of wheat flour in next two weeks in first phase and then PFMA would expand it to cover all Punjab in second phase and then remaining provinces.