Fortification of Rice
To address the issue of micronutrient deficiency and anemia in the country, among its various fortification of food schemes, the Government of India has now approved the centrally sponsored pilot scheme on ‘fortification of rice’ and its distribution under public distribution system (PDS) for a period of three years.
Under the scheme, milled rice will be mixed with a premix containing vitamins and minerals post-harvest. Fortified rice and wheat flour will contain folic acid, iron, niacin, pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamine and vitamins A and B12, while fortified milk and edible oil will contain vitamins A and D, all in amounts that can help consumers reach their RDI (recommended daily intake).
As per the Food Fortification Resource Centre (FFRC) of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, iron, Vitamin B12, and Folic acid are the mandatory nutrients for the fortification of rice, the kernels of which are added into the regular rice kernels in 1 to 100 ratio.
Fortification standards have also been operationalised by the Food Safety and Security of India (FSSAI).
In the first phase, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerela, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, are among the 15 states to get the fortified rice.
Niti Aayog shared the list of one district in each of the 15 states for the pilot project, states that had an aspirational district were asked to nominate the aspirational districts first.
The use of fortified rice will be mandatory in all midday meal schemes, and public nutrition programmes under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) in India by December 2019.
In the Indian government’s latest effort to combat malnutrition in the country, the Ministry of Women and Child Development pushed for the use of fortified rice across the board in these nutrition-based schemes, having already made the use of fortified wheat, salt, milk and oil mandatory.
Government sources have revealed that by December 2019, midday meals at schools, as well as food served at ICDS centres, will be prepared using fortified wheat flour and edible oil. Currently, the use of double-fortified iodised salt under these programmes is already mandatory.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) also said that by January 2020, fortified rice, wheat flour, salt and edible oil would be supplied throughout the country’s Public Distribution System (PDS).