The FSSAI has recently drafted the Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2016. These regulations will prescribe standards for fortification of salt, oil, milk, vanaspati, atta, maida and rice. One of the requirements that FSSAI has prescribed is that all fortified foods should bear the fortification logo. Through a notification dated 23 December 2016, the FSSAI has invited objections and suggestions on the draft regulation which must be supported by scientific evidence. The objections must reach FSSAI within a period of 30 days from the above mentioned date.
In chapter 1 the FSSAI has defined the terms fortification, fortificant, fortified food, government funded programme, etc. which are relevant in understanding the proposed regulations.
In chapter 2 FSSAI has specified the reasons that require fortification which are prevention, reduction or correction of
- deficiency of essential nutrients in the population or specific population group
- inadequate nutritional status of one or more essential nutrients in the population or specific population group
- meeting requirements or recommended intake of one or more essential nutrients
- maintaining or improving health
- maintaining or improving the nutritional quality of foods
In case fortification of any food is made mandatory it will be based on the severity and extent of public health based on scientific evidence. The FSSAI may make it mandatory to fortify any staple food on receiving directions from the government.
Manufacturers that fortify foods must ensure that the level of micronutrients in the fortified neither falls below the minimum requirement nor exceed the upper limit as specified in recognised international standards.
Chapter 3 outlines Quality Assurance where every manufacturer and packer of fortified food shall submit evidence of quality assurance like
- certification by a food laboratory notified by the FSSAI, which states that the fortification in the food is in compliance with regulations
- maintain an up-to-date record and inventory of fortifications used in the manufacturing or packing process along with the source of the fortification
- monitor procedures at different stages of manufacturing or packing process
- undertake random testing of fortificants and fortified food
- regular audit of technical equipment and processes
- Follow good manufacturing practices, as may be specified by the FSSAI
Specific Packaging and Labelling Requirements
- All fortified food shall be packaged in a manner that takes into consideration the nature of the fortificant added and its effect on the shelf life of such food.
- Every package of fortified food shall carry the words “fortified with ………… (name of the fortificant) and the fortification logo on the label
- Every package of food, fortified with Iron shall carry a statement “Not recommended for people with Thalassemia and people on low iron diet”.
- Provision to make a nutrition claim in relation to an article of fortified food
Promotion of Fortified Food
The FSSAI is taking an active part in promoting food fortification and has taken the necessary steps to encourage the production, manufacture, distribution, sale and consumption of fortified food including fortification through conventional breeding/ hybridization, in cooperation with concerned government departments. Without any prejudice the FSSAI will endeavour to
- advise and promote the use of fortified food in Government-funded programmes on distribution of food
- organise public awareness, education and advocacy campaigns on nutrition and fortified food
- conduct technical assistance programmes and provide technical expertise to small manufacturers to enable them to undertake fortification
- equip laboratories and research institutions notified under the Act to conduct the nutrient analysis of fortified food; and
- identify and recommend to the Central and State Governments, financial incentives, subsidies and loans to be provided to manufacturers and packers to encourage them to undertake fortification
In Schedule I of the proposed fortification regulation the FSSAI has mentioned the specific standards for fortification of
- Salt with iodine
- Vegetable Oil with Vitamin A or Vitamin D
- Milk with Vitamin A or Vitamin D
In Schedule II the FSSAI has provided the image of the fortification symbol or logo.