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What Is Rice fortification?

Focus: GS II: Health

Why in News?

One Year of Announcement of Rice Fortification. 151 districts in 24 states lifted fortified rice; 6.83 LMT distributed by the States/UTs in Phase II.

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.

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