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Food-Fortification Program in Morocco

The Kingdom of Morocco launched the flour and oil fortification stage of its National Micronutrient Program in December 2000. The vitamin A (oil) and iron (flour) fortification components of the program are based on the 1994 and 1996 national and regional surveys, which showed that 38% and 40.6% of children under five years of age, respectively, were iron and vitamin A deficient. Morocco is following the example of many countries that fortify their salt with iodine and flour with iron, folate, and/or B vitamins. In addition, it is innovative in including vitamin A–fortified oil in its pioneering fortification program, the first in North Africa. This paper concerns the advocacy and consensus-building components in support of iron, vitamin B, and folatefortified flour and for vitamin A–fortified oil (iodized salt began in 1996). As part of its efforts to implement a sustainable food-fortification strategy, the Ministry of Health has already launched a series of activities. The selection of flour and oil to fortify is based on foodconsumption patterns. Hydrogenated cooking oil was identified as a good vehicle for fortification because it is centrally processed and over 90% of households use it daily for a variety of cooking purposes. Oil is an excellent fortification vehicle for vitamin A because it is a fatsoluble vitamin. Flour was identified as a good vehicle for iron fortification because 95% of households use it as the main ingredient in bread. The entire population consumes centrally processed flour, even households that also use homemade flour. This is because about one million metric tons of centrally processed flour are subsidized by the Government, at a savings of at least 50% compared with nonsubsidized flour. One innovation of the program is to launch fortification for the general public at the beginning of Ramadan, a monthlong religious period, when oil and flour consumption increase significantly.