Food fortification

Food fortification

According to information provided by the Food Fortification Resource Center (FFRC) of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, more than 70% of India’s population consumes less than half of the recommended daily intake of micronutrients.

Such deficiencies are found not only among women and children in rural areas, but also affect population groups in urban India.

The key to overcoming nutritional deficiency:

  • Given the limited access to nutritious food with a section of the population, fortification is crucial to address the nutritional deficiency.
  • In order to directly address the anemia and micronutrient deficiency in the country, the Central Government has recently approved a pilot scheme on Fortification of Rice & its Distribution under Public Distribution System.
  • The Food Fortification Initiative of the Central Government in collaboration with several states including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh has already been started and under the ‘Pilot Programme’. Distribution of fortified rice is being started.
  • Enrichment of key foods and spices with key micronutrients is an effective way to address nutrient deficiencies.
  • Timely adoption of food fortification in social and nutritional security programs as a part of the ‘Fortification Initiative’ will play an important role in addressing the problem of undernutrition in India.

Requirement of ‘Rice Fortification’:

  • This announcement is significant in view of the high levels of malnutrition among women and children in the country.
  • According to the Ministry of Food, every second woman in the country is anaemic and every third child is a victim of stunted or stunted.
  • The Global Hunger Index (GHI), India, ranks 94th out of 107 countries and has been placed in the ‘severe category’ related to hunger.
  • Malnutrition and lack of essential nutrients in poor women and poor children are major hindrances in their development.

What is ‘Food Fortification’?

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), through ‘food fortification’, to make a food nutritious, the amount of essential micronutrients i.e. vitamins and minerals is carefully increased in it.
  • According to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, Food Fortification is the process of carefully increasing the amount of essential micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals in a food to make it nutritious.
  • Its objective is to improve the nutritional quality of the food grains supplied and to provide health benefits to the consumers with minimum risk.
  • It is a proven, safe and cost-effective strategy to improve diet and prevent micronutrient deficiencies.

Benefits of ‘Food Fortification’:

  • Since ‘food fortification’ involves adding nutrients to the staple foods that are widely consumed, it is an excellent way to improve the health of a large segment of the population.
  • ‘Fortification’ is a safe way to improve the nutrition of individuals and the addition of micronutrients to the food does not pose any risk to the health of the people.
  • This method does not require any change in the eating habits and patterns of the people, and is a socio-culturally acceptable way of delivering nutrients to the people.
  • ‘Food fortification’ does not change the characteristics of the food – taste, feel, appearance.
  • It can be applied quickly and at the same time can show health improvement results in a relatively short period of time.
  • This can prove to be a very cost-effective method if the existing technology and distribution platform is leveraged.

Source: The Hindu

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