According to a notice issued by FSSAI, the Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations 2016 has become operational from 16 October 2016. Fortification of food will now be implemented as per the new standards from this date on-wards. FSSAI had shared the proposed regulations for the fortification of Food Products in the first week of October 2016.
Fortification is a deliberate increase in 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. According to studies almost 70% of the Indian population does not consume enough vitamins and minerals. Certain populations like children and pregnant women could suffer from lack of vitamins and micronutrients. Fortification makes it possible to address the deficiency of essential nutrients in a large population through staple food. Fortification is also carried out so that there is no nutrient deficiency in the food because of the loss of micronutrients during processing.
The Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations 2016 outlines the standards for the
- Fortification of salt with iodine
- Fortification of vegetable oil with Vitamin A and D
- Fortification of milk with Vitamin A and D
- Fortification of vanaspati for synthetic Vitamin A
- Fortification of atta with iron, folic acid, Vitamin B-12 and in addition zinc sulphate, thiamine B1, Riboflavin B2, phosphate, niacin, pyridoxine B6, etc.
- Fortification of maida iron, folic acid, B12
- Fortification of rice with iron, folic acid, vitamin B12
The Copenhagen Consensus estimates that every 1 Rupee spent on fortification results in 9 Rupees in benefits to the economy. It requires an initial investment to purchase both the equipment and the vitamin and mineral premix, but overall costs of fortification are extremely low. Even when all program costs are passed on to consumers, the price increase is approximately 1-2%, less than normal price variation. This is just a small price to pay for improved health benefits in the population.
Since fortification of foods is an important issue for the health, the FSSAI has also launched a website which deals exclusively with fortification of foods and information on the need for food fortification.
Click here for more details.