Focus: GS II: Health
Why in News?
The Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution informed that the Government has approved supply of fortified rice across Government Schemes like Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) and Other Welfare Schemes (OWS) throughout the country by 2024
What is rice fortification?
- 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”.
- The cooking of fortified rice does not require any special procedure.
- After cooking, fortified rice retains the same physical properties and micronutrient levels as it had before cooking.
- Fortified rice will be packed in jute bags with the logo (‘+F’) and the line “Fortified with Iron, Folic Acid, and Vitamin B12”.
- Various technologies are available to add micronutrients to regular rice, such as coating, dusting, and ‘extrusion’.
- The last mentioned 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 of rice fortification
- 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.
What are the standards for fortification?
- Under the Ministry’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 (10 mg-15 mg), vitamin A (500-750 microgram RE), vitamin B-1 (1 mg-1.5 mg), vitamin B-2 (1.25 mg-1.75 mg), vitamin B-3 (12.5 mg-20 mg) and vitamin B-6 (1.5 mg-2.5 mg) per kg.