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Fortification of Rice

Posted on : 27 Aug 2021

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced fortification of rice distributed under various government schemes including Public Distribution System (PDS) and Mid-Day-Meal scheme by 2024.

  • This announcement was made by him while addressing the nation on 75th Independence Day.

Key Points:

  • As per the announcement, rice being distributed through all government schemes will be fortified by 2024.

  • This decision was taken in order to address the problem of malnutrition and lack of essential nutrients in children and women living in poor conditions as it poses a major obstacle towards their development.

  • Micronutrient deficiencies or ‘hidden hunger’ also continue to pose significant public health problems in Indian populations.

Significance of fortified rice in India:

  • Fortification of rice in India is significant in countering malnutrition because, government distributes more than 300 lakh tonnes of rice under schemes covered under National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013.

  • Fortified rice is a cost-effective strategy to increase mineral and vitamin content in diets.

  • For 2021-22, approximately 328 lakh tonnes of rice allocated by the Centre is being distributed through schemes under the National Food Security Act such as Mid-Day Meals (MDM), Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), and Targeted Public Distribution System (PDS).

Note: India produces over one-fifth of the world’s rice. The country is also the largest consumer of rice, accounting for 6.8 kilograms per month as per capita rice consumption.

What is food fortification?

  • Food fortification is the simplest and sustainable public health strategies that address the challenge of micronutrient deficiencies.

  • It is a cost-effective, scientifically proven, and globally recognised approach.

  • It also helps in easily reaching to wider & vulnerable populations by means of existing food delivery systems.

What is the Fortification of rice?

  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) defines the fortification as “deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients in a food so as to improve the nutritional quality of food and to provide public health benefit with minimal risk to health.”

  • According to the FSSAI norms, 1 kg fortified rice shall contain iron (28mg-42.5mg), folic acid (75-125 microgram) and Vitamin B-12 (0.75-1.25 microgram).

  • In addition, rice may also be fortified with micronutrients, singly or in combination, at the level– zinc (10mg-15mg), Vitamin A (500-750 microgram RE), Vitamin B1 (1mg-1.5mg), Vitamin B2 (1.25mg-1.75mg), Vitamin B3 (12.5mg-20mg) and Vitamin B6 (1.5mg-2.5mg) per Kg.

NFHS 4 report:

  • According to National Family Health Survey report, India has the largest burden of iron-deficiency and anaemia worldwide.

  • About 59% of children and 50% of pregnant women are anaemic in India.

  • Child and maternal malnutrition accounts for 15% of India’s total disease burden.

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