Fortified foods to tackle malnutrition

 

 
Targeting children, the Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh governments have begun using fortified oil for their mid-day meal schemes.
MNCs, co-ops, other manufacturers will add premixes of micronutrients to products
Malnutrition isn’t just about acute starvation. Often, healthy-looking people are malnourished too, because their diet does not include the right micronutrients. In severe forms, such deficiencies can have serious effects. For instance, iron deficiency leads to critical problems during pregnancy, and not enough Vitamin A can lead to poor vision, infections, and skin problems.
To tackle the issue, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) released a set of standards and a logo last year. Since then, it has focussed on awareness- and consensus-building. Now, a number of enterprises will begin adding premixes of micronutrients to launch fortified foods. Smita Mankad, head of the FSSAI’s Food Fortification Resource Centre, told The Hindu that in the next few months, General Mills India, ITC, Hindustan Unilever and Patanjali will launch wheat flour, Adani Wilmar, Marico, Borges India, and Kaleesuwari Refineries are working on oil, LT Foods, DCP Food, and KKR Food are launching rices, and in salt, other brands will join Tata, which already has a double fortified brand in the market.
Milk cooperatives in Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Assam and Maharashtra will fortify their products too. Targeting children, the Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh governments have begun using fortified oil for their mid-day meal schemes. West Bengal and Andaman and Nicobar Islands are now distributing fortified wheat flour through the public distribution system, and the Maharashtra government has started a pilot project.
The FSSAI is also working with small local suppliers, for instance local flour grinding mills, to get them to add premixed micronutrients. “The next level of awarenesses will be among consumers to opt for fortified staples,” Ms. Mankad said. The FSSAI has decided not to interfere in pricing.
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