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Tomorrow is World Nutrition Day

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Tomorrow 28 May is World Nutrition Day. The importance of vitamin fortified edible oil is immense in combating nutritional deficiency and improving public health. However, the sale of bulk edible oil in unhealthy drums poses a threat to public health as well as works as a barrier to the proper implementation of the 2013 Vitamin Fortification in Edible Oil Act.

According to research conducted by ICDDR, B in 2017, 65% of the total edible oil sold in Bangladesh is marketed in drums, of which, 59% does not contain any degree of vitamin-A fortification and 34% is poorly fortified. Considering the situation, the Ministry of Industry (MoInd) issued an executive order to phase out bulk soyabean oil sold in drums by July 2022 and bulk palm oil sold in drums by December 2022. However, this order is yet to be effectively implemented. Bulk edible oil marketed in drums has the potential to adulteration and the reuse of non-food graded plastic drums can severely contaminate the edible oil.

On the occasion of World Nutrition Day 2024, ABM Zubair, Executive Director of PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress), a research and advocacy organization, said, “Combating country-wide micronutrient deficiency, the government has already enacted the Vitamin ‘A’ fortification in Edible Oil Act. In order to ensure the nutritional quality of edible oil, the sale of loose edible oil in unhealthy drums should be stopped.”

According to the National Micronutrient Survey 2019-20, 50.9% of children aged 06-59 months and 7.5% of non-lactating or non-pregnant women suffer from Vitamin ‘A’ deficiency. Vitamin ‘A’ deficiency causes physiological issues like blindness, maternal death during pregnancy, etc.

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