In order to scale up food fortification, the Food Fortification Resource Centre (FFRC), the FSSAI jointly with Tata Trusts organised the Regional Workshops across the country. The fifth workshop in this league, covering the States of Maharashtra, Goa, Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli was held in Mumbai, Maharashtra on 12 February 2020. The Workshop was all about “enthusing, enabling and empowering States and the Industry”. The workshop was attended by over 150 Food Businesses and State Officials who deliberated on the challenges to scale-up food fortification and devise a roadmap. Dr Yogesh Kamat, Director, Western Region, FSSAI in his welcome address said that the workshop was a great platform to bridge the gap between demand and supply side as all the stakeholders were present together.
The workshop also provided an opportunity to understand ground realities and collect data pertaining to fortification of the participating States. Officials from respective State Food Safety Departments talked about the current status, challenges of fortification in their States and outlined the suggestions that could take food fortification forward. A One-on-one interaction through a working group model was conducted with the States to create an at-scale action plan for their respective states.
The participating UTs of Dadra and Nagar Havel and Daman and Diu took a step forward and expressed their interest in fortifying their staple commodities. Positive results also emerged from the hands-on sessions for the States of Maharashtra and Goa where they have committed to fast-track the roll-out of fortification initiatives along with scaling it up. Ms Jyoti Sardesai, Director, FDA and Food Safety Commissioner, Goa talked about the need for a structured approach and said that the State of Goa is planning to initiate fortification of rice on a pilot basis in the State.
The Working Group discussions were held for the industry representatives. In order to show their willingness to adopt food fortification industry representatives provided an expression of interest. On the other hand, the FSSAI Technical Partners proved effective in resolving the queries put forward by the industry. To excite the potential food businesses, existing players, shared their experiences on initiating food fortification and how they overcame challenges faced. The industry promised to initiate fortification shortly and provided a quantifiable assurance. Their commitment will be tracked going forward. This workshop will be followed by training programmes for the industry and mini consultations for the government departments.
The teams from FFRC, FSSAI and TATA Trusts provided an overview of food fortification standards, regulations, quality assurance, technical and communication support extended to both industry and government. All the participants were awarded a certificate of appreciation for their efforts in catalysing food fortification in India.
Food Fortification is a scientifically proven, cost-effective, scalable and sustainable global intervention that addresses the issue of micronutrient deficiencies. In October 2016, the FSSAI operationalized the Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2016 for fortifying staples namely Wheat Flour and Rice (with Iron, Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid), Milk and Edible Oil (with Vitamins A and D) and Double Fortified Salt (with Iodine and Iron) to reduce the high burden of micronutrient malnutrition in India. The ‘+F’ logo has been notified to identify fortified foods. Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2018 were notified in the Gazette of India on 9 August 2018.