Through a notification dated 19 May 2017 the FSSAI has operationalized the Food Safety and Standards (Fortifications of Foods) Regulation 2017 with effect from 17 April 2017. The regulations were revised with regard to suggestions from stakeholders especially for including standardised milk in the list of milk variants that can be fortified with vitamin A and D.
FSSAI has specified that fortification is required for the 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 in a 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 need which will be ascertained from scientific evidence. The FSSAI may make it mandatory to fortify any staple food on receiving directions from the Government of India.
Manufacturers need to comply with standards of micronutrient content
- Manufacturers that fortify foods must ensure that the level of micronutrients in the fortified does not fall below the minimum requirement as specified in the schedules of the regulation
- The micronutrient content must not exceed the highest amount of micronutrients that can safely be added to such food, keeping in mind recognised international standards.
Quality Assurance from manufacturer and packer of fortified food to be given to FSSAI
Quality assurance will include
- certification by a food laboratory notified by the FSSAI, which states that the fortification in the food is in compliance with the Act and regulations and specified standards
- maintenance of an up-to-date record and inventory of fortifications used in the manufacturing or packing process along with the source of the fortification
- monitoring of procedures at different stages of manufacturing or packing process
- undertaking random testing of fortificants and fortified food
- regular audit of technical equipment and processes
- Following good manufacturing practices, as may be specified by the FSSAI
All fortified food whether voluntarily fortified or required to be fortified under mandatory fortification must be manufactured, packed, labelled, handled, distributed and sold only in compliance with the standards specified under provisions of the Act and regulations no matter if the fortified food is for profit or under a government programme.
Packaging and labelling requirement
- 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
- All other labelling requirements must be as per the Food Safety Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations 2011
Promotion of Fortified foods
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
- 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
Standards for Fortification
In Schedule I of the proposed fortification regulation the FSSAI contains the specific standards for fortification of
- Salt with iodine and iron along with the levels of these nutrients
- Vegetable Oil with Vitamin A or Vitamin D along with the source of these vitamins
- Milk with Vitamin A or Vitamin D where the standards state the minimum level of nutrient per lire of toned, double toned and skimmed milk along with the source of the nutrients
- Vanaspati with synthetic vitamin A along with level of nutrient
- Atta, Maida and Rice with iron, folic acid, B12 and other B vitamins and zinc sulphate along with the minimum level of fortification per kilogram of the foods
In Schedule II the FSSAI has provided the image of the fortification symbol or logo that is required to be placed on all fortified foods.
Consolidation of regulations and standards on fortified food
The FSSAI has stated that the provision of these regulations will supersede standards of fortification of food set in any regulations, orders or guidelines issued under the Act thereunder save as regards regulations on nutraceuticals and foods for Special Dietary uses.
Provisions of the Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation of Product, Supply and Distribution) act 1992 will prevail and nothing in these regulations shall affect those provisions or any rules or orders framed in them.