India’s food regulator, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), has asked the food business operators (FBOs) to comply with the provisions of the Food Fortification Regulations, 2018, by January 1, 2019. “The provisions of these regulations shall supersede the standards for fortification of food set out in any regulations, orders, or guidelines issued under the Act,” stated the notification according to the publication.
“Fortification is the best practice”
According to the new regulations, a minimum and maximum range for the fortification of staples like wheat flour (atta), maida, rice, salt, vegetable oil and milk will be provided, while the dosage of the micronutrients has been adjusted to provide 30 to 50 percent of the daily requirements. The unit of dosage for milk and oil has been changed to microgram Retinol Equivalent for Vitamin A and microgram for Vitamin D from IU. Other sources of iron have been added to wheat flour and rice fortification, while vanaspati fortification has been excluded.
“Over two years since the operationalization of the standards, the edible vegetable oil industry has adopted fortification as a best practice. Following this, mandatory oil fortification is proposed to be the way forward,” Pawan Kumar Agarwal, chief executive officer, FSSAI, told the publication. “As a result of massive advocacy launched by FSSAI and Food Fortification Resource Centre (FFRC), fortified staples (wheat flour, oil, and DFS) are being used in Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Scheme. It has been made mandatory since 2017 by Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Human Resource Development, respectively,” he added.
+F logo for fortified foods
“As of today, 15 states, like Odisha, Karnataka, Haryana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, West Bengal, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh and three Union Territories (UTs) have now adopted fortification of their chosen commodities at the district or at scale in the government safety net programs (SNP), namely ICDS, MDM and the public distribution system (PDS),” Agarwal told the publication.
It is to be noted that the FSSAI operationalized the Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations in October 2016, for fortifying staples, namely wheat flour and rice (with iron, Vitamin B12 and folic acid), milk and edible oil (with Vitamins A and D) and double-fortified salt (with iodine and iron) to reduce the high burden of micronutrient malnutrition in India. Consumers can identify the fortified food products with the +F logo.