What are fortified foods?
- Fortified foods are the foods to which extra nutrients have been added.
- For example, cereal may be fortified with iron, the glass of milk with lunch likely has vitamin D added to it, and a bowl of pasta could be fortified with folic acid.
- Fortification is the addition of key vitamins and minerals, such as iron, iodine, zinc, Vitamins A & D, to staple foods such as rice, milk and salt to improve their nutritional content.
What is Food fortification?
- Fortification is the addition of key vitamins and minerals such as Iron, Iodine, Zinc, Vitamins A & D to staple foods such as rice, wheat, oil, milk and salt to improve their nutritional content.
- These nutrients may or may not have been originally present in the food before processing or may have been lost during processing.
- Food fortification or enrichment is the process of adding micronutrients (essential trace elements and vitamins) to food.
- Fortification requires neither changes in existing food patterns, habits nor individual compliance.
- It is socio-culturally acceptable and does not alter the characteristics of the food.
Benefits of Food fortification:
- Food fortification is a proven and effective strategy to meet the nutritional needs of a large number of people across various sections of the society, including the poor and underprivileged as well as the vulnerable, such as pregnant women and young children.
- It can be introduced quickly and can produce nutritional benefits for populations in a short period of time.
- Fortifying foods with nutrients has helped to eradicate many nutrition-related conditions.
- It is safe and cost effective, especially if advantage is taken of the existing technology and delivery platforms.
- Food fortification reinforces and supports existing nutrition improvement programmes and is part of a broader, integrated approach to prevent micronutrient deficiencies, thereby complementing other approaches to improve health and nutrition.
- Fortified foods (with +F symbol) is a simple and inexpensive way to address micronutrient deficiencies without any radical change in behaviour or eating patterns.
Regulations on Food fortification in India:
- Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has formulated a comprehensive regulation on fortification of foods namely ‘Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2016’.
- These regulations set the standards for food fortification and encourage the production, manufacture, distribution, sale and consumption of fortified foods.
- The regulations also provide for specific role of FSSAI in promotion for food fortification and to make fortification mandatory. This sets the premise for the national summit on fortification of food.