GAIN's National Fortification Program, which began in 2003, has expanded to support 17 countries with high levels of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Projects fortify foods and condiments including wheat and maize flour, sugar, vegetable oil, milk, soy sauce and fish sauce. The goal of the project in Vietnam is to reduce the prevalence of iron deficiency anemia by making iron-fortified fish sauce available to the population through following objectives:
After 3 years of implementation, fish sauce plants will produce and distribute roughly 30 millions Iron Fortified Fish Sauce (IFFS), accounting for 20% the amount of fish sauce on the market.
Setting up and maintaining IFFS quality control and quality assurance in accordance with the national standard at provinces and regional laboratories to testing plant's products, sampling in market.
Improving awareness and knowledge of the people by education, communication and social marketing.
At full scale, the project aims to reach approximately 25 percent of the population with fortified fish sauce.
At the close of the project, ten fish sauce factories were producing fortified fish sauce and more than 575,000 people had access to iron fortified fish sauce. In addition, fortification legislation has been developed and is being reviewed by the government. The current draft of the new food law contains an article on fortification. The article stipulates that micronutrient fortification is mandatory if it can be shown that the corresponding deficiency constitute a public health problem.
Furthermore, a quality control manual has been developed and implemented, alongside training courses on labelling, sampling methodology and a testing protocol. Regular testing of market samples as part of external quality control measures in eleven fish sauce companies has also been carried out.
A partnership with the Women’s Union system was also developed and mass media was actively used, including television, radio, national and local newspapers and the internet. In 2008, social marketing and promotion activities were intensified in provinces where the fortifying fish sauce companies hold market share.