If you’re a heath buff then I’m pretty sure you know what food fortification is. However, if you’re like me and don’t have a clue, fortification involves the deliberate increasing of essential micronutrients in food to improve its quality. Sounds like a pretty good idea, doesn’t it? Now, for the really good news.
Food regulator FSSAI said that major wheat-flour brands like ITC, HUL, Cargill and Patanjali would begin to fortify wheat flour with iron, folic acid, and vitamin B-12. This step is being brought about in order to tackle malnutrition, which, let’s face it, is quite an enormous problem.
Last year FSSAI had released the standards for the fortification of salt with iodine and iron, of vegetable oil and milk with Vitamin A and D, wheat flour and rice with iron, folic acid, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin A and some other micronutrients.
The best part? FSSAI said in a statement that market leaders like the ITC, General Mills, Hindustan Unilever, Patanjali, and Cargill are backing this initiative, to start fortification of their flagship brands of wheat flour (atta) such as Aashirwaad, Pillsbury, Annapurna, Patanjali and Nature Fresh respectively.
The process is already underway and the new and improved fortified wheat flour will begin to hit the shelves in various regions by as soon as July or August. The FSSAI is hoping to be able to scale up production to the rest of India by the end of the year!
This decision is the outcome of a series of meetings organized by them over past two months with related businesses, including medium and small industry players and development partners such as GAIN some of whom have already been associated with fortification of wheat flour for the past couple of years.
FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal said that Fortification Standards and a logo for fortified foods released by FSSAI recently has provided a rallying point for food businesses to take up fortification on a large scale. Let’s hope that fortification hits it big as it’s certainly a noble venture!