Expert panel established to drive forward India's national fortification plan

Fortification is a cost-effective and reliable means of reducing micronutrient malnutrition, says FSSAI. ©iStock

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has set up a panel of doctors and research scientists to prepare the final version of its food fortification laws – a move that would facilitate the inclusion of micronutrients to several food staples.

Under the rules, salt will be fortified with iodine and iron, vegetable oil and milk with vitamins A and D, and wheat flour and rice with iron, folic acid, zinc, vitamins B12 and A.

FSSAI introduced the draft rules in October last year, and sought more comments from stakeholders when it released a consultation paper recently. It also conducted region-wide consultations in the cities of Delhi, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Bengaluru and Guwahati.

The five-city regional consultation is reportedly concluding this week.

FSSAI has set up the panel to identify crucial nutrition gaps as well as target specific groups based on credible diet surveys and other related scientific data.

“Fortification is a cost-effective and reliable means of reducing micronutrient malnutrition,” said FSSAI.

“The goal is not to provide 100% daily requirements of micronutrients but rather ‘fill the gap’ between intake from other sources and daily micronutrient needs.”

Panel members are from institutions such as Medanta Medicity, All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), St John's Medical College, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, Sita Ram Bharatia Institute of Science and Research, National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Nutrition Foundation of India, the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI),  MS University, Baroda, and Bharati Vidyapeeth University.

Joining this panel are members of scientific committees working on food fortifying vehicles such as wheat flour, refined flour, rice, milk, edible oil and salt.

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