The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) defines 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”. Various technologies are available to add micronutrients to regular rice, such as coating, dusting, and ‘extrusion’. Extrusion involves the production of fortified rice kernels (FRKs) from a mixture using an ‘extruder’ machine. It is considered to be the best technology for India. The fortified rice kernels are blended with regular rice to produce fortified rice.
Need for rice to be fortified
- India has very high levels of malnutrition among women and children. According to the Food Ministry, every second woman in the country is anaemic and every third child is stunted.
- Fortification of food is considered to be one of the most suitable methods to combat malnutrition.
- Rice is one of India’s staple foods, consumed by about two-thirds of the population. Per capita rice consumption in India is 6.8 kg per month.
- Therefore, fortifying rice with micronutrients is an option to supplement the diet of the poor.
- To boost the nutritional value of basic foods such as rice, milk, and salt, fortification is the addition of important vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, Vitamin A, and D.
- These nutrients could or might not have been present in the food before it was processed.
- Rice fortification, according to the Food Ministry, is a cost-effective and complementary technique for increasing vitamin and mineral content in diets.
How does it tackle the hunger problem
- Malnutrition among women and children in India is quite prevalent.
- Every second woman in the country is anaemic, and every third kid is stunted, according to the Food Ministry
- India has slid to 101st place out of 116 nations in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2021, down from 94th place in 2020.
- Micronutrient malnutrition, sometimes known as “hidden hunger,” is a major health hazard.
- Rice is a staple meal in India, consumed by almost two-thirds of the population. In India, per capita rice consumption is 6.8 kilogramme per month. As a result, fortifying rice with vitamins is a viable alternative for supplementing the poor’s diet.
What are the standards for fortification?
- Under the government’s guidelines, 10 g of FRK must be blended with 1 kg of regular rice.
- According to FSSAI norms, 1 kg of fortified rice will contain the following: iron (28 mg-42.5 mg), folic acid (75-125 microgram), and vitamin B-12 (0.75-1.25 microgram).
- Rice may also be fortified with zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B-1, vitamin B-2, vitamin B-3 and vitamin B-6.
The government proposes to provide fortified rice through the Integrated Child Development Services and Mid Day Meal Schemes across the nation starting in 2021, with a specific focus on Aspirational areas, to combat chronic anaemia and undernutrition.
How to structure:
- Give an intro about food fortification
- Explain what fortified rice is and its importance
- Examine how fortified rice can tackle hunger( also hidden hunger) and emphasise the standards of fortified rice
- Way forward