19 Apr 2010

Food summit in Vanuatu to consider fortifying basic supplies

5:47 am on 19 April 2010

An Australian Professor in global public health says governments and food industries need to work together to improve the growing dilema of poor health in the Pacific.

Professor Glen Maberly is the Director at Sydney's Centre for Health Innovation and Partnership and he will be attending the first Pacific Food Summit in Vanuatu this week.

He says one target of the summit is to gather all of the key national and international agencies in the region to improve and regulate the quality of basic imported foods:

"On the agenda for consideration by the ministers of Trade, Health and Agriculture, of all of these countries, is the idea that all the rice imported into the Pacific would be fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, along with all the salt fortified with iodine, along with all the flour fortified with iron and folic acid and other B vitamins."

Professor Maberly says he hopes an increased quality of food supply will have a positive influence on the health of families quite quickly reducing problems such as anaemia and spina bifida.