Enriching Flour, Enriching Lives: The Flour Fortification Initiative

23. Detection
As we have already said, detection is an important aspect of flour fortification. Overdosing flour with micronutrients is not only unnecessarily expensive but also undesirable. When fortification is carried out under US federal law, flour milling facilities are required to meet appropriate levels to fulfil their legal obligation. For all of these reasons it is important to conduct detection tests periodically. If the feeder discharge rate is monitored on a regular basis and the flour output does not change, then the dependence on the detection test is not as great. Over a prolonged period of time the consumption of the micronutrient premix and flour production quantities give a more accurate picture of the level of fortification used. Although this gives a more accurate figure of usage on average, it does not mean the rate of addition was consistently uniform over this period of time. In general, the possibility of overtreatment is unlikely, as no business entity would be prepared to waste premix costs over an extended period of time and let it remain undetected.

Detection tests are a lot more critical in an environment where fortification is being introduced through legislation and many people perceive a few flour mills to be non-compliant, or where implementation of a voluntary programme is claimed by most milling companies but followed by only a few. Detection of some micronutrients can be rather involved as compared to others. So in a situation where a combination premix is used it is economical and logical to test for the micronutrient that is easy to detect. For example, in a simple fortification programme involving iron and folic acid it is sensible to conduct detection for iron, as the detection test for folic acid is much more involved.

24. Conclusion
The International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) in conjunction with FFI has formed a Technical Training and Support Group in order to communicate globally the hows and whys of flour fortification described above. The Group acts as an umbrella organization to support fortification education in milling schools around the world.

Flour fortification "creates something of enduring value", in the words of Philip Purnama, owner of Bogasari flour mills in Indonesia and a speaker at the International Grains Conference in London in 2003 (Purnama, 2003). That enduring value consists in gener-ations of children who grow up smarter and stronger than their parents before them, able to build a better life for themselves and their families.


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