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The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) convened a Technical Consultation on Food Fortification: Technology and Quality Control at the Istituto Nazionale della Nutrizione, Rome, Italy, from 20 to 23 November 1995. The list of Consultation participants is presented in Annex 1.

The Consultation was opened by Mr. J. R. Lupien, Director, Food and Nutrition Division, FAO. He noted that the Consultation subject is a topical issue as both developed and developing countries seek to ensure that food fortification is used effectively to meet the diverse needs existing in these countries. He mentioned that the International Conference on Nutrition (ICN) held in Rome in 1992, recognised micronutrient deficiency as a widespread nutritional problem and stated that food-based activities should be the focus of attention in addressing this problem. One of the most important aspects of the follow-up to this Conference has been the preparation of National Plans of Action for Nutrition which detail activities to be undertaken by governments which include reducing micronutrient deficiencies. FAO has the responsibility of providing technical support to member countries as they attempt to implement those activities.

Mr. Lupien called to the attention of the Consultation the importance of international recommended standards and guidelines covering fortified foods. He pointed out that the Codex Alimentarius Commission has been responsible, since 1962, for implementing the joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme, the primary aims of which are to protect the health of the consumer and facilitate international trade. The Codex Alimentarius recommended Standards and Codes of Practice have been recognised by the World Trade Organization as reference standards for use in the international trade of foods.

Finally, Mr. Lupien pointed out that the Consultation could perform a valuable service to FAO by providing well considered opinions and recommendations in the following areas:

1. The most appropriate technologies to be utilised, and existing technological constraints in food fortification programmes;

2. Criteria which must be evaluated in assessing the sustainability of fortification programmes;

3. The establishment of mechanisms which would ensure adequate quality and safety of fortified foods;

4. Identification of any need for further development of international guidelines covering fortified foods; and

5. Identification of areas which should be promoted for further research or investigation.

Mr. Giuseppe Rotilio, President, Istituto Nazionale della Nutrizione welcomed the participants and expressed the interest of his Institution in the topic of food fortification especially in light of the currently expanding knowledge on the physiological roles of micronutrients in the body.

The Consultation elected Dr. Shawky Dagher as Chairman, and Dr. Chen Chun Ming and Dr. Anna Ferro Luzzi as Vice-Chairpersons. Professor Demetre Labadarios was appointed as Consultation Rapporteur. The provisional agenda was presented for consideration by the Consultation and was subsequently adopted. This is attached as Annex 2.

The deliberations of the Consultation were based on six working papers, the titles of which are listed in Annex 3.

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