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National Nutrition Month

POSHAN Maah 2020: Three Different Ways Of Food Fortification Explained

The process of including key vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, vitamins A and D to staple food items like rice, wheat, oil, milk, and salt is called food fortification

POSHAN Maah 2020: Three Different Ways Of Food Fortification Explained
Highlights
  • A human body needs both macro and micro nutrients
  • Fortified food aids in consumption of micro nutrients
  • The food can be fortified either while production or cooking

New Delhi: In 1962 the Government of India initiated the National Goitre Control Program (NGCP) and mandated the use of iodized salt to eliminate goitre in the country. According to FSSAI (Food Safety And Standards Authority Of India), human body requires 150 micrograms of iodine, an essential micronutrient, every day. But, our diet does not contain sufficient amount of iodine hence, the government mandated consumption of iodised salt or fortified salt, which refers to addition of iodine in regular salt without changing its taste or texture.

Since then the government has been trying to implement food fortification on a large scale. Food fortification has also been identified as one of the key strategies to achieve the target of Kuposhan Mukt Bharat (Malnutrition Free India) by 2022.

Also Read: All About Food Fortification And How It Can Make India A Healthy Country

What Is Food Fortification?

The process of including key vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, vitamins A and D to staple food items like rice, wheat flour, oil, milk, and salt is called food fortification. The reason behind choosing staple items is to reach a larger population.

Why Is Food Fortification Required?

Food fortification is one of the ways to ensure the consumption of essential micronutrients. The vital micronutrients are added to improve the nutritional content which may or may not have been originally present in the food before processing or may have been lost during processing.

When we talk of nutrition security, we mandate the regular and appropriate inputs of macro nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats) and micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals). While macro nutrients are needed in larger quantities, the proportion of micro nutrients is very minuscule. But, the role of micro nutrients in ensuring nutrition security, and appropriate living and thriving is probably as much as macro nutrients if not more, explains Dr. Rajiv Tandon, Health Director, RTI, International India.

Also Read: Poshan Maah 2020: What Has Been The Impact Of COVID-19 Pandemic On India’s Malnutrition Targets

What Are The Different Ways Of Food Fortification?

There are three ways to improve the nutritional quality of staples by adding key micronutrients and these are:

Bio-fortification

Bio-fortification of staples simply means inculcating micro nutrients when the food is being grown. The process ensures availability of micro nutrients in the crop being sown. It includes the breeding and genetic modification of plants so as to improve their nutrient content and/or absorption. According to Dr. Tandon, though this is a good way to fortify food it is not easy. He says,

For bio-fortification you need to play with the genes of the plant and there are some people who are against the genetic modification of plants. However, scientists are working on bio-fortification of food and some countries have already started consuming such staples. Like, some countries have orange sweet potato which is actually a fortified and micronutrient rich version of regular sweet potato.

Also Read: National Nutrition Month: Benefits Of Eating Locally Produced Nutritious Foods At Complementary Feeding Stage

Orange sweet potato or the fortified sweet potato is a good source of Vitamin A which is essential for good vision, healthy immune system, and for the proper functioning of various organs including heart, and lungs.

Basanta Kumar Kar, a recipient of Global Nutrition Leadership Award, believes that the consumption of naturally bio-fortified food and food through conventional plant breeding is safe and which can be promoted through kitchen garden and linking these with MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act).

Also Read: Gujarat NGO Helps Distressed Families Grow Kitchen Gardens During COVID-19 Pandemic To Improve Their Nutritional Well-Being

Industrial Fortification

Industrial fortification involves adding micronutrients to staples such as flour, rice, cooking oils, sauces, and others while manufacturing. For example, spraying potassium iodate or potassium iodide solution on edible salt.

Similarly, rice fortification is done by adding Fortified Rice Kernels (FRK) to non-fortified or regular rice in a ratio of 1:100. Fortified Rice Kernels are manufactured by combining rice flour with required nutrients. The mixture is then made into rice-like grains that resemble the sheen, transparency, consistency and flavour of rice. Following this, FRK are added to the ordinary rice supply.

Also Read: Poshan Maah 2020: ‘Proper Nutrition Is Vital To Build A Prosperous Nation,’ Says Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Industrial fortification of rice has been practised for many years and even made part of government schemes like mid-day meal. To assess the benefits of fortified rice, PATH, an NGO that is working in the health sector, did a study in Karnataka for the year 2016-2018, where fortified rice was integrated in the school meal program. The introduction of fortified rice led to a reduction in underweight, stunting cases.

For the same period, parents reported that the frequency of child falling sick at least once in three months had significantly reduced, informed Ruchika Chugh Sachdeva, Deputy Director, Maternal, Newborn, Child Health & Nutrition – India, PATH.

Home Fortification

Home fortification is considered as the easiest form of including micro nutrients through iron sprinkles or powdered nutrients or tablets. The fortified food or micronutrients can be added either while cooking or eating food.

Also Read: National Nutrition Week 2020: How These Initiatives Are Helping India Eat Nutritious Food Amid Coronavirus Crisis

What Are The Benefits Of Food Fortification And Is It Scientifically Proven?

Food Fortification is a scientifically proven, cost-effective, scalable and sustainable global intervention that addresses the issue of micronutrient deficiencies, states FSSAI.

Explaining the benefits of fortified food, Mini Varghese, Country Director, Nutrition International, said,

Fortification can make frequently consumed foods or daily staples more nutritious without any change in the dietary habits of the consumers. The demand and consumption of staples like wheat flour, rice, milk, oil, salt and others usually remain uninterrupted in every scenario and they are consumed across the population – from low to high income groups. This makes food staples a great vehicle to add micronutrients to improve the nutritional status of the general population.

Also Read: National Nutrition Month: Uttar Pradesh Government And World Food Programme Join Hands To Provide Nutritious Take Home Ration

According to the studies done in the past, food fortification does help in addressing different forms of malnutrition and other diseases caused due to micro nutrient deficiency. In 2018-2019, PATH did a case-control study in Gujarat to understand the effectiveness of fortified rice. As part of the study, fortified rice was introduced into the mid-day meal program of 666 local schools of Ahmedabad.

The study showed significant improvement in haemoglobin levels among children and anaemia cases reduced by 10 per cent. Compared to the control group (non-fortified rice group), cognitive scores increased by 11.25 points among the children who consumed fortified rice, informed Ms Sachdeva.

Also Read: “Nutrition Is More Than food, More Than Hunger,” UNICEF India’s Arjan De Wagt Talks About The Impact Of COVID-19 On Poshan Abhiyan 

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

23,96,06,768Cases
20,13,42,617Active
3,33,82,100Recovered
48,82,051Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 23,96,06,768 and 48,82,051 have died; 20,13,42,617 are active cases and 3,33,82,100 have recovered as on October 15, 2021 at 4:15 am.

India

3,40,37,592 16,862Cases
2,03,6782,908Active
3,33,82,100 19,391Recovered
4,51,814 379Deaths
In India, there are 3,40,37,592 confirmed cases including 4,51,814 deaths. The number of active cases is 2,03,678 and 3,33,82,100 have recovered as on October 15, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,86,280 2,384

33,157 6

64,13,418 2,343

1,39,705 35

Kerala

48,29,944 9,246

96,421 1,802

47,06,856 10,952

26,667 96

Karnataka

29,82,399 310

9,607 43

29,34,870 347

37,922 6

Tamil Nadu

26,83,396 1,259

15,451 199

26,32,092 1,438

35,853 20

Andhra Pradesh

20,59,122 540

6,588 27

20,38,248 557

14,286 10

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,008 12

135 4

16,86,976 16

22,897

West Bengal

15,79,012 530

7,576 81

15,52,491 601

18,945 10

Delhi

14,39,311 28

337 1

14,13,885 29

25,089

Odisha

10,33,809 521

4,890 38

10,20,645 477

8,274 6

Chhattisgarh

10,05,614 16

203 4

9,91,841 20

13,570

Rajasthan

9,54,382 8

42 6

9,45,386 2

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,244 34

215 20

8,15,943 14

10,086

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,669 12

111 1

7,82,035 11

10,523

Haryana

7,71,035 16

105 158

7,60,881

10,049 174

Bihar

7,26,016 8

42 6

7,16,313 2

9,661

Telangana

6,68,618 168

4,171 40

6,60,512 207

3,935 1

Assam

6,05,847 207

3,646 157

5,96,263 362

5,938 2

Punjab

6,01,971 33

234 11

5,85,199 16

16,538 6

Jharkhand

3,48,406 11

130 4

3,43,141 7

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,729 28

175 22

3,36,157 6

7,397

Jammu And Kashmir

3,30,834 93

935 11

3,25,473 104

4,426

Himachal Pradesh

2,21,113 182

1,387 5

2,16,011 173

3,715 4

Goa

1,77,356 68

679 27

1,73,342 39

3,335 2

Puducherry

1,27,259 49

647 4

1,24,763 53

1,849

Manipur

1,22,432 69

1,444 15

1,19,099 84

1,889

Mizoram

1,10,719 901

13,601 435

96,744 1,332

374 4

Tripura

84,295 4

110 8

83,369 12

816

Meghalaya

82,734 87

892 31

80,411 115

1,431 3

Chandigarh

65,295 10

32 5

64,443 15

820

Arunachal Pradesh

54,958 4

202 22

54,476 26

280

Sikkim

31,722 6

224 1

31,108 7

390

Nagaland

31,516 9

230 8

30,613 17

673

Ladakh

20,867 6

44 2

20,615 4

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,675

3 1

10,668 1

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

2 0

10,312

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,640 3

10 1

7,501 2

129

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