Karnataka Food safety commissioner pushes for fortified food – The New Indian Express
BENGALURU: With food fortification likely to become mandatory in the near future, Food Safety Commissioner Subodh Yadav met representatives of bulk manufacturers of wheat flour, edible oil, milk and biscuits on Saturday. This was to encourage them to make fortified food.
Around 4.5 lakh children of the 59.5 lakh beneficiaries of the mid-day meal scheme in the state consume fortified rice in seven districts. This rice is packed with multiple micro-nutrients like iron, folic acid and vitamins.
The state government was honoured at a recent national summit of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) where early adopters of food fortification were recognised.
According to the Food Fortification Resource Centre, an online portal run by FSSAI, the cost of food fortification is miniscule. It costs as much as Rs 30 to Rs 100 per metric tonne which works out to just about 3 to 10 paisa per kg of food, depending on the type and number of micronutrients added and the staple food that is being fortified.
“Fortified milk with vitamin A and D costs 2 or 3 paisa more per litre. Similarly, rice with folic acid costs 50-80 paisa more per kg and edible oil costs 8 to 10 paise more per litre. Except the initial investment on blenders and feeders, it is not expensive,” Srinivas Gowda, in-charge joint commissioner of the state FSSAI, said.
He said, “A few PDS outlets used to distribute fortified rice they had procured from Tamil Nadu. This was stopped as it led to misconceptions that it changes the colour of rice. In fact, it helps reduce malnutrition and anaemia. The Food Processing Ministry is giving loans at subsidised rates to help those who want to adopt this technology.”
Yadav said, “Unless food fortification is mandated, it cannot be enforced. Food manufacturers raised some concerns. They said if the raw material comes from other countries, it cannot be fortified at the primary processing level. For example, palmolien oil comes from Malaysia and Southeast Asian countries.”