Elizabeth Cushny Explores Millers’ Vital Role in Combating Malnutrition Across Kenya

Elizabeth Cushny, a Program Specialist from Millers For Nutrition, is driven by her passion to improve community health. She leads nutrition programs aimed at enhancing the health of Kenyans by ensuring that millers follow protocols to produce safe products for consumption.

This is what she has to say concerning Combating Malnutrition in Kenya;

Why is food fortification important in Kenya?

In Kenya, it is a legal requirement by the government to fortify staple foods, primarily to reduce cases of malnutrition, especially with wheat flour, maize flour, salt, edible fats and oil. It is notable for a miller to ensure that food is fortified before they produce it for the market as it is recognized as the most cost-effective intervention for malnutrition. However, it is more expensive for millers dedicated to this initiative, who incur an extra expense which includes installing relevant technology and purchasing premixes (nutrients added in the fortification process). Therefore we recognize and celebrate the millers who are committed to the cause.

What exactly are aflatoxins?

Aflatoxins are toxins produced by fungi that affect maize and nuts, attacking it when it’s not well-dried after harvesting or isn’t stored accordingly. Aflatoxins can also be caused by aflatoxin infested soils. Aflatoxins pose severe health risks such as liver damage, cancers and suppressed immunity. Before food is fortified, millers check to ensure that the product they get is free from aflatoxins. Many even pay premium prices to obtain such products to ensure that they are safe for processing and fortification.

How best can we combat malnutrition as a nation?

Food fortification is one of the best ways to do so, not only because it is one of the easiest ways to reach a large number of people but also because it is one of the cheapest methods used. However, the issue in Kenya is that many millers do not fortify food to save on costs.

Millers for Nutrition Coalition through its partners, has a program where we work with millers at all levels, including small-scale millers. This ensures that not only people who can afford to buy packeted fortified food consume it, but also those who are at the bottom of the pyramid and buy directly from the millers to save on costs. Improving access to well-fortified food results to improved health, nutrition and productivity of the consumers.


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