Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, May 29, 2007 – The Pakistan Ministry of Health has awarded Fortitech Asia Pacific the contract to manufacture and supply the vitamin and mineral premix containing highly bioavailable iron (FeNaEDTA) for its National Wheat Flour Fortification Program. This decision is taken after a thorough and transparent technical and financial bid process involving multiple international suppliers, which resulted in Fortitech achieving the highest aggregate score. “By awarding the contract to Fortitech Asia Pacific, Pakistan’s government shows its commitment to deliver quality products that benefit a large portion of the population,” says Dr. Ram Chaudhari, Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of New York-based Fortitech, Inc. “According to UNICEF estimates, iron deficiency affects half of the developing world’s infants, undermines the health of 500 million women of reproductive age and leads to more than 60,000 childbirth deaths a year. It also causes a range of other problems in millions of people, including impaired cognitive development in children, fatigue, maternal mortality and low productivity in the workplace.”
Fortitech Asia Pacific has also chosen to partner with Akzo Nobel, the world leader of this highly bioavailable iron source under the brand name Ferrazone® XF. Developed by Akzo Nobel’s Functional Chemicals, Ferrazone® XF FeNaEDTA is a highly bioavailable form of iron which leaves no taste when added to food and remains stable under storage and cooking conditions. It also prevents rancidity, while research into the product’s molecule has proved that Ferrazone is absorbed into the human body two to four times better than with other iron compounds.
The Pakistan Ministry of Health has recently announced that the National Wheat Flour Fortification Program will proceed as planned. This is the first large scale national wheat fortification program that adheres to the recently published World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation to fortify whole grain flour with the highly bioavailable iron source, FeNaEDTA. Numerous iron fortification programs have not achieved the expected reduction in iron deficiency due to low bioavailability of the iron fortificant. Pakistan is demonstrating the practical implementation of the WHO recommendation and other countries will likely begin similar programs. The national wheat flour fortification program is partly funded by the GAIN Foundation.
Commenting on the announcement, Dr. Regina Moench-Pfanner, a Senior Manager at GAIN Foundation, says, “This is an exemplary example of public-private partnership to improve the quality of lives of the population, which GAIN has championed since its inception. We congratulate the Pakistan Government in taking this bold, concrete step.”
“This is a triumph for the scientific community who has toiled for so many years to show that FeNaEDTA is probably the best source of iron in many cases to combat iron deficiency anemia,” says Mr. Geoff Smith, Global Director, Chelates for Health at Akzo Nobel. “This is also a triumph for Pakistan public health officials who have the foresight and courage to implement the WHO recommendation in its effort to reduce high prevalence of iron deficiency anemia in Pakistan.”
About Fortitech Asia Pacific
Fortitech Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd is part of the global network of manufacturing and distribution companies of Fortitech, Inc., the world leader in the development of custom nutrient premixes for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. Located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the company is exclusively dedicated to the manufacture of nutrient premixes. Fortitech Asia Pacific is ISO 9001:2000 certified and HACCP, Halal and PNDC certified. Fortitech Asia Pacific also meets requirements for Allergen Monitoring program standards. Not just premixes...Strategic Nutrition. www.fortitech.com
About Akzo Nobel
Akzo Nobel, based in the Netherlands, serves customers throughout the world with healthcare products, coatings and chemicals. Consolidated revenues for 2006 totaled roughly $17 billion (€13 billion). Akzo Nobel Functional Chemicals manufactures and sells a variety of chemical intermediates, formulation ingredients and/or process aids on a global basis. www.akzonobel.com
GAIN’s mission is to reduce malnutrition through the use of food fortification and other strategies aimed at improving the health and nutrition of populations at risk. GAIN has set itself the target of reaching 1 billion people by 2008. The longer term target is to reach the estimated 2 billion people across the globe suffering from nutritional deficiencies. www.gainhealth.org
About the Pakistan Ministry of Health
The Pakistan Ministry of Health is responsible for matters concerning national planning and coordination in the field of Health. The ministry also serves as an international liaison, dealing with legislation pertaining to the drugs and medicines, administration of drugs Acts 1976 among major nursing, dental, pharmaceutical, para-medical and as an allied subject with maintenance of educational standards, education abroad, educational facilities for backward areas, and for foreign nationals except the nomination of candidates from the FATA for admission to medical colleges. www.pakistan.gov.pk