Government Will Review Vitamin D-Fortified Milk Plan

Government Will Review Vitamin D-Fortified Milk PlanGovernment Will Review Vitamin D-Fortified Milk Plan

In a bid to address the woefully high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, the Health Ministry has proposed a plan that would oblige dairy producers to sell only vitamin D-fortified milk.

About 70%-80% of Iranians suffer from vitamin D deficiency in their diet but the ministry hopes to rectify that if its proposal is approved by the Cabinet, according to Zahra Abdollahi, head of the Diet and Nutrition Promotion Office at the ministry, IRNA reported.

“The idea was first put forward 10 years ago and some dairy manufacturers were issued permits to produce fortified milk,” she said, adding that because the price of those milks went up, many were disinclined to buy.

“The technology to fortify milk is now prevalent but as long as the government doesn’t subsidize it, people will not be able to afford these types of milk,” Abdolahi said.

She noted that milk is considered expensive by most in at the lower end of the economic ladder and the result is the low per capita milk consumption.

“Therefore, if the final cost of vitamin D-fortified milk turns out to be more expensive than regular milk, some will not be able to afford it,” Abdolahi said.

Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is 86% and 76% among pregnant women and students respectively. To alleviate the problem, free vitamin D supplements are distributed among students “but that does not suffice,” she said.

Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, because it helps the body use calcium from the diet. Deficiency of vitamin D can cause bone pain and muscle weakness. Vitamin D has been referred to as the “sunlight vitamin” because it is made in the skin upon exposure to sunlight.

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