The Food and Civil Supplies Department will start the distribution of fortified rice from April 1 in 14 districts of the state under ‘Poushtika Karnataka’ (Nutrition Karnataka) programme to eradicate malnutrition
- The personnel in the state’s 58 rice mills are currently being trained in fortification
- The rice will be fortified with nutrients like iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12
- Five kg of food grains will be given per member as per the National Food Safety Act guidelines
FOOD FORTIFICATION IN INDIA
- 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.
Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2018
- It prescribes the standards of addition of micronutrients for the purpose of food fortification.
- The manufacturers of the fortified food are required to provide a quality assurance undertaking.
- Packaging and labelling of the fortified food must state the food fortificant added, logo and the tagline “Sampoorna Poshan Swasth Jeevan”.
- It should be in compliance to the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011.