Report flags risk of fortified rice
A recent report has cautioned about the risks associated with fortified rice.
This report has been released by ASHA-Kisan Swaraj and Right to Food Campaign. According to the report, the distribution of iron fortified rice should be stopped in states like Jharkhand to prevent anemia.
- Majority of the tribal population of Jharkhand is suffering from diseases like sickle cell anemia, thalassemia and tuberculosis.
- People with thalassemia, sickle cell anemia and malaria already have excess iron in their bodies. At the same time, TB patients are unable to absorb iron.
- Consumption of foods rich in iron by patients with these diseases can reduce their immunity and the ability of organs to function.
- Jharkhand is an endemic region of diseases like sickle cell and thalassemia. Here 8%-10% of the population suffers from it. This is twice the national average.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the process of deliberately increasing the amount of essential micronutrients in food is called fortification. Micronutrients include vitamin and mineral (including trace elements) content.
- This is done to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and provide public health benefits without endangering health.
The following are the benefits of fortification of rice:
- Promotes nutrition of malnourished and vulnerable populations.
- Helps in dealing with anemia
- More effective at less cost,
- Helps in the development of the baby during pregnancy.
- Rice in India is fortified using extrusion technology.
- In this technique, the ground rice is pulverized and mixed with premix containing vitamins and minerals. Fortified rice kernels (FRK) are prepared from this mixture using an extruder machine.
- FRK is added to traditional rice in the ratio of 150 to 1:200. The resulting fortified rice is almost identical to traditional rice in aroma, taste and texture.
Source – The Hindu