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Water Fortification to Improve Public Health
The government will fortify food and drinking water with minerals and trace elements good for human health.

Yu Xiaodong, director of the National Public Nutrition and Development Center, said that some nutrients will be added to purified water in the same way the country iodized its salt years ago.

A research institute of fine chemical and biological engineering in Liaoning Province has, after more than a decade of research, invented a concentrated mineral liquid for water fortification, he said.

"It can greatly improve public health by supplementing insufficient minerals and micro-elements in the human body," said Han Zhongmin, director of the research institute.

Water fortification is a cooperation project among the government, the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Children's Fund for bettering public health in China.

People in China often absorb too few or too many minerals and micro-elements from their drinking water, resulting in endemic diseases like anemia, according to experts.

Moreover, institute officials said they are working to develop different types of fortified drinking water in compliance with different regions, ages, sexes, and people.

"The public can afford the fortified water since it costs almost the same as the ordinary purified water," Yu said.

Yu also noted that the fortified water has passed strict examinations and won approval from the government and, therefore, has been determined to be safe.

Water is only part of a larger plan that includes fortifying food.

Iron-fortified flour is also under trial in Gansu and Hebei provinces.

So far, 11 domestic firms have undergone tests in the fields of production technological processes, equipment, sanitation and management, and received the go-ahead from the government to sell iron-fortified soy sauce in the country.

(eastday.com October 30, 2002)

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