Wilson Dakwa, Business Reporter
THE Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) says it is still waiting for the Ministry of Health and Child Care to respond to its application at the High Court seeking to block implementation of mandatory food fortification.
GMAZ southern region chairman Mr Thembinkosi Ndlovu filed a case against the ministry earlier this month.
Millers want sections 4 (i) (b) and (e), 5 (b) and (e) and 7 of the Food Fortification Regulations 2016 purportedly made under and in terms of the Food and Food Standards Act (Chapter 15:0 4) set aside.
“We are still waiting for a response although the 10 days in which they (ministry) were supposed to respond by have passed,” said GMAZ chairman Mr Tafadzwa Musarara.
According to studies conducted by the millers, $14,8 million is required to buy machinery and a further $7,25 million is required to purchase fortificants every month.
Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa, cited as the respondent in the matter, had 10 days to respond to the case was filled on 5 September 2017. Efforts to get a comment from Dr Parirenyatwa were fruitless as his phone went unanswered.
In earlier reports, Dr Parirenyatwa said millers and food processors that will fail to comply with mandatory food fortification for maize meal, sugar, cooking oil and wheat flour will have their licences cancelled.
According to the Government regulations, sugar will be fortified with vitamin A, cooking oil with vitamin A and D; and wheat flour and maize meal with vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, folic acid, iron and zinc.
Food fortification is the process of adding minute levels of vitamins and minerals to foods during processing.
It entails addition of one or more micro-nutrients during processing regardless of whether the micro-nutrient is present or not in the said food to increase micro-nutrient intake among the people.
It is one of many ways to prevent and control micro-nutrient deficiency diseases like goitre, anaemia, impaired vision and mental retardation.