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Food fortification is a strategy commonly used in Central American countries to ensure the basic nutritional requirements of their respective populations are met. However, each country is unique with its own nutrition concerns, fortification strategies, and oversight of fortification programs.

In May, ILSI Mesoamerica held the symposium “Latin American Food Fortification” at which experts from ILSI’s traditional stakeholders (industry, academia, and government) shared information on vulnerable populations, existing fortification programs and the science needed to enhance them or design new ones, and, importantly, how Central American countries might collaborate to improve the nutritional status of the population on a more regional basis. The workshop – which included a “governments” roundtable – was a success in that it brought together various ministry representatives (45% of 140 total participants) from seven countries. The embassies of France, Japan, and Spain also sent observers.

The majority of the remaining participants represented health organizations working in the region (e.g., Instituto de Nutrición de Centroamérica y Panamá) and universities.

The Guatemalan media group Perspectiva published an editorial on the symposium. It quotes Hannia León, PhD, executive director of ILSI Mesoamerica:

“At the regional level, we must unite efforts to promote standardized food fortification programs and regulatory oversight. This will then allow us to jointly promote innovative public health measures addressing common challenges and cooperation within Latin America and the Caribbean to confront together the problem of chronic malnutrition, which affects the development of future generations of our countries.”

The entire editorial (in Spanish) is available online: Perspectiva

ILSI Mesoamerica prepared a companion monograph for the symposium: Food Fortification in Central America and the Caribbean. It is in Spanish and available here: Food Fortification Monograph

For more information on the symposium, contact: ilsimesoamerica@gmail.com

ILSI News | August 2016
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