Johannesburg - Some brands of maize meal do not contain the
level of nutrients required by law, the National Consumer Forum (NCF) said on
This was despite a decade-long effort by the government to get
certain staple foods fortified with vitamins and other micronutrients as a way
of fighting malnutrition.
"This nationwide fortification initiative was meant to
address our unacceptably high levels of malnutrition, especially among
children," said NCF chairperson Thami Bolani in a statement.
"But clearly the implementation and enforcement
strategies are not up to standard."
The forum sent sample maize meal products from supermarket
shelves for laboratory testing, and found that both the brands it tested fell
short of the legal requirements.
"We tested for seven of the main micronutrients listed
in the regulations and found that there were insufficient amounts of most of
these in the products we tested," said Bolani.
These included vitamin A, riboflavin, iron and niacinamide.
Bolani said these results were disappointing since
government had been working with the industry for over a decade to ensure
achievable levels of fortification in staple foods.
The Development Bank of Southern Africa reported in 2008
that child malnutrition rates had deteriorated, with one out of five children
in South Africa having stunted growth because of insufficient nutrition.
It found that almost a third of women and children were
anaemic, and almost half of all children had too little zinc.