Why does India need fortified foods?
According to the recent National Federation of State High School Health Survey (NHFS), the prevalence of anemia in women aged 15-49 years increased from 49.7% for NFHS-4 to 57.2% for NFHS-5 Phase 1. Iron deficiency is the main cause of anemia, and other undernourishments, especially folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12, which are prevalent in Indians. Lack of nutritional awareness, improper cooking and dietary habits, limited biological availability of nutrients, inability to provide a diverse diet, or inaccessibility of foods such as vegetables, fruits, eggs and milk The challenge that needs to be addressed to address the micronutrient consumption gap is in the national diet.
“Ignoring the serious effects of micronutrient deficiency and failing to incorporate essential micronutrients into our daily diet can have irreversible consequences not only for physical health but also for mental development, according to studies. And micronutrient deficiency is closely associated with cognitive development, school concentration, and work outcomes, as well as congenital disorders such as weakened immunity and neurovascular deficiency (NTD). Large-scale nutritional interventions have the ability to improve the functional health outcomes and nutritional status of populations across India, “said Senior Nutrition Specialist and Director of Public Health and Nutrition Development Center in New Delhi. Dr. Sheila C-Bar said.
Because rice plays a major role in the Indian diet, each diet is nutritious until conscious behavioral changes are organically achieved throughout the population and access to micronutrient-rich foods is ensured. Making sure that you are diverse in can be a huge task. Therefore, the appearance, taste, and texture are similar to milled rice, and fortified rice grains blended with unfortified rice in a 1: 100 ratio provide a micronutrient-rich alternative to Indian dietary tastes. increase.
“In a case-control study conducted in Gujarat in 2019, integrating micronutrient-enriched rice into a lunch program of 8 months or longer reduced the prevalence of anemia by 10% and cognitive scores for schools aged 6-12 years. Was found to have improved by 11.3 points. Students. Widely available evidence from global and Indian data, including WHO, is that fortification is an effective preventive strategy and helps increase micronutrient intake. It suggests that fortress standards should be tailored to national circumstances based on the prevalence of micronutrient deficiency. FSSAI follows a rigorous process to define fortress standards. Standards are monitored. It will be revised based on the data and needs to be revised, “said Dr. R Sankar, director of the Indian Nutrition Initiative.
“This technology is not only simple and globally developed, but also developed in partnership with the biotechnology division and IIT Kharagpur. The PDS food supply system can be easily integrated and small-scale flour milling. There are also benefits to vendors, “adds Dr. Rajesh Kapoor, a former additional secretary and scientist in the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, who worked on the technology.
Therefore, the Government of India’s policy of supplying fortified rice through food safety nets such as PDS, lunch schemes and ICDS is heading in the right direction. The government supported fortification costs, program management, IEC, surveillance, and assessment. A simple loan is also provided to millers through the MSME department to set up mixing units and FRK facilities.
The highest level of commitment was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing the availability of enhanced rice in all Social Safety Net Programs (SSNPs) by 2024. 102.2 million school children aged 0 to 6 who participate in the daytime meal program, budgeted at 266 chlores (US $ 36 million). The state has already begun receiving fortified rice for women and children.
Are fortified foods safe to consume?
Grain and other food fortifications are implemented with continuous monitoring, quality assurance and control, and other compliance and corrective actions. Fortress standards in every country are defined based on the micronutrient needs of their population. Fortress standards are reviewed regularly and appropriate changes in micronutrient levels are based on process monitoring and impact data, as well as new dietary data.
The standards of the Indian Food Safety Standards Authority (FSSAI) are based on evidence-based research and rigorous consultation with the scientific community, including food, nutrition and public health experts. In addition, micronutrient overloads may not even be far away, given that only 30-40% of the recommended dietary reference intake (RDA) of micronutrients can be added to staples under these criteria. ..
“For effective implementation of the program, continuous monitoring, quality assurance and control of the fortified rice grain (FRK) manufacturing process and the mixing process of FRK with regular rice, and corrections to ensure high compliance. Must be done under action. Appropriate manufacturing and hygiene practices and standards must be in place to avoid overdose or underdose of micronutrients. As with any food processing industry, program sustainability. Possibility requires strict standards and regulations, and continuous monitoring of effectiveness. FSSAI is developing strong standards for strengthening rice and is also working on the development of strict monitoring processes. “More and more,” said Dr. HNMishra, Head of Rice Strengthening Projects in the Agricultural and Food Engineering Division of IIT Kharagpur.
Existing research and global evidence are sufficient to uncover the myth of the toxicity of fortified foods. Eighty countries have legislation supporting the fortification of flour, more than 130 have iodized salt, and 13 have mandated the fortification of rice. For decades, low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have strengthened their children’s nutritional status through fortification to prevent micronutrient malnutrition.
Is fortification new in India?
Fortification is not a new concept in India. India introduced forcible fortification of hydrogenated oil (Vanaspati) with vitamin A and iodination of salt in 1962 as a region-specific program, but has been universal for edible salt since the early 1990s. Iodization of salt is compulsory. In recent years, the fortification of rice, cooking oil and milk has gained momentum. In many states, double fortification of salt with iron and iodine is a regional innovation of the National Institute of Nutrition, used for lunch, ICDS, and made available to vulnerable people via PDS.
The high prevalence of anemia and the serious impact of micronutrient deficiency on health problems, reduced school concentration and work productivity indicate the need for fortified foods. This intervention is absolutely necessary to support and accelerate government efforts to combat these diseases through various initiatives such as Anemia Muktovarat and POSHAN Abhiyaan. This includes other solutions such as dietary diversity, behavioral change communication, and anthelmintic programs.
Nutrition expert, Health News, ET HealthWorld
Source link Nutrition expert, Health News, ET HealthWorld