Nutrition

CALL FOR AUTHORS - Technological considerations for micronutrient fortification of maize flours and corn meals

Food technologists, food chemists and nutrition lead authors for review papers on: Technological considerations for micronutrient fortification of maize flours and corn meals

WHO/Leonardo Garcia

The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently working on the update of global guidelines on fortification of maize flours and corn meals with vitamins and minerals as part of public health programmes, in countries where maize is considered a staple food. Mass fortification of maize flour, and products produced from maize, has been implemented in several settings around the world. Mandatory mass fortification of maize flour with iron has been practiced for many years in several countries in the Americas and Africa and voluntary fortification has already been introduced in many other countries including Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Mauritania.

The use of maize varies depending on the culture and geographic location. In many settings, maize kernels undergo a pre-processing step prior to milling. This process is called nixtamalization and refers to cooking maize kernels in a dilute alkali solution (traditionally, limewater, ash or lye). After washing, the grain/kernel is dehulled by removing pericarp, leaving the endosperm and germ. Precooking is another procedure that may be applied to maize before milling and is common in some South American countries. Precooked maize flour is the product obtained from white or yellow corn, composed mainly of endosperm. The kernel has been sequentially dehulled, degermed, precooked, dried, flaked and milled. It is now recognized that there is much more variability in maize flour processing than in wheat flour and the same nutritional and food technology principles that apply for wheat flour fortification may not necessarily apply for maize flour fortification.

In addition to two ongoing Cochrane systematic reviews on the nutritional and health effects of maize flour and corn meal fortification, the Evidence and Programme Guidance Unit at the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, is seeking to commission nine review papers on several topics related to maize flour and corn meal consumption and fortification (see next page).

Suitable authors working independently or as part of working teams can submit their letter of interest by sending an email to WHO at micronutrients@who.int no later than Friday, 15 June, 2012.

Kindly attach in your message the following documentation:

  • A brief curriculum vitae of the author(s), demonstrating their needed technical expertise including a list of relevant publications.
  • Proposed title of the paper
  • A 300-word abstract outlining the issues that will be addressed in the full paper. The abstract should include the topics found in the table on the next page, as well as other relevant issues.
  • An expression of commitment to completing the paper no later than 15 September, following WHO instructions for authors.

Selected authors will be notified by 30 June 2012. Small amounts of funding to support development of the papers may be available in select cases with a demonstrated need.

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