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Food fortification in India

Posted on : 11 Dec 2019

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  • Fortification is the addition of key vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, Vitamin A & D to staple foods such as rice, milk and salt to improve their nutritional content. These nutrients may or may not have been originally present in the food before processing.
  • India’s National Nutritional strategy, 2017, had listed food fortification as one of the interventions to address anaemia, vitamin A and iodine deficiencies apart from supplementation and dietary diversification.
  • Malnutrition is a prominent issue in India — 38 per cent of children under five years are stunted i.e. too short for their age, 36 per cent are underweight and 21 per cent are wasted i.e. too thin for their height, which is a sign of acute under-nutrition.
  • 59 per cent women and 53 per cent children are anaemic.
  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) made standards for fortification in the Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2018, for five staples — wheat, rice, milk, oil and salt.
  • The standards are given for wheat and rice fortification with iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12, the deficiency of which cause anaemia. Besides, other B vitamins are also added.
  • Standards are provided for oil and milk fortification with vitamin A and vitamin D, the deficiency of which cause night blindness and rickets respectively; and salt fortification with iron along with iodine to prevent goitre.
  • The food companies who wish to add micronutrients to these staples sold in the packages will also have to follow the standards set by FSSAI. If the product is fortified according to the standards, the package will carry an F+ label.

The Union Ministries of Women and Child Development, Human Resource Development and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution have mandated the distribution of fortified wheat flour, rice, oil and double fortified salt in their schemes — Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal (MDM) and Public Distribution System (PDS) respectively.

Article Related Questions

  1. Consider the following statements about food fortification in India
    1.It is the addition of key vitamins and minerals to staple foods such as rice, milk and salt.
    2.The manufacturers of the fortified food are required to provide a quality assurance undertaking.
    Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  2. 1.1 only

    2.2 only

    3.Both 1 and 2

    4.Neither 1 nor 2

    Right Ans : Both 1 and 2

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