Enriched Flour

Its time for fortified wheat flour ( Enriched Flour) – LONDON

There are fresh calls for the government to fortify flour with folic acid in the UK to help protect babies from common birth defects after a new study found there is no need for an upper limit of folate intake.

Britain’s failure to legislate to make food producers fortify flour with folic acid to help prevent babies being born with birth defects is based on flawed analysis and should be reversed, scientists said on Wednesday.

The study, by Queen Mary University of London and the School of Advanced Study, University London, shows that the maximum suggested intake of folate (1mg/day) is based on ‘flawed’ analysis.

“There is clear evidence that fortification will prevent approximately half of all neural tube defects, such as anencephaly and spina bifida. There are around 1,000 diagnoses of neutral tube defects in utero in the UK, 85% of which result in an abortion. This accounts for around 1 in 200 abortions in the UK, many of which will be in the second trimester of pregnancy. In addition, a recent systematic review has demonstrated that periconceptual folic acid supplementation will reduce the risk of a baby being born small for gestational age, and therefore the theoretical risk of stillbirth.

“The RCOG has long supported fortification of flour with folic acid as a public health measure to prevent neural tube defects in babies. This simple measure will reach women most at risk in our society who have poor dietary and socioeconomic status, as well as those women who may not have planned their pregnancy. We continue to recommend that all women take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily whilst attempting to conceive, until their 12th week of pregnancy.

“If the UK government decided to add folic acid to flour it would prevent countless family tragedies. Governments in Scotland and Wales are already united in calling for this important change.”

Urging the UK to follow more than 80 other countries, including the United States, who have mandatory fortification, the scientists said there was no need for an upper limit on folate intake because there is no risk of harmful overdose.

Deficiency in folate, by contrast, can cause pregnant women to have babies with serious birth defects called anencephaly and spina bifida. Also known as neural tube defects, the conditions affect 1 in 500-1,000 pregnancies in Britain.

Source: www.reuters.com

what is fortified milk

What is fortified milk ??


Fortification is the process by which manufacturers add micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals to food. The purpose is to reduce the rate of common deficiencies and diseases that would otherwise occur in the absence of these nutrients. This is especially important in regions where the soil — and thus the plants that grow in the soil — is nutrient poor. Though fortification is sometimes optional, the federal government mandates the inclusion of certain nutrients in cereal, salt and even milk because of concerns over public health.

Milk Fortification with Vitamin A and Vitamin D

Milk is a rich source of high quality protein, calcium and of fat-soluble vitamins A and D. Vitamins A and D are lost when milk fat is removed during processing. Many countries have a mandatory provision to add back the vitamins removed as it is easily doable. It is called replenishment as the nutrients lost during processing are added back.

Fortification of milk with Vitamin A and Vitamin D is required in India because of the widespread deficiencies present in the population. A Recent National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (NNMB) survey and a Report of the expert group of ICMR in 2012 has stated that India has very high burden of Vitamin A and D deficiencies, amongst both young children and adults particularly in urban areas are physically less active and have a very limited exposure to sunlight.

Since milk is consumed by all population groups, fortification of milk with certain micronutrients is a good strategy to address micronutrient malnutrition. India is the largest producer of milk in the world with 146.3 million tonnes of production and per capita availability of 322 grams per day . The dairy industry in India has progressed from a situation of scarcity to that of plenty.

Milk Fortification: Standards

Milk is one of the most nutritious foods. Vitamins A and D though important for various bodily functions and naturally present in milk are removed along with fat when the milk is processed to produce toned, double-toned and skimmed milk.

At the processing level, four types of fluid milk are commonly produced in India: Fortifying standardized (Fat – 4.5%), toned (Fat – 3%), double toned (Fat – 1.5%) and skimmed milk (Fat < 0.5%) with vitamin A and vitamin D will ensure that these will also reach consumers who purchase low-fat milk and provide them with significant amounts of their daily needs of these vitamins.

The technology to fortify milk is simple. All the vitamins and minerals that can be added to milk are available in dry powder form as well as in the liquid form. The fat-soluble vitamins are also available in an oily form as well as in the water soluble form. The fortification process does not require any sophisticated equipment.

Source: FSSAI


India loses 4% of GDP to malnutrition, say experts ahead of budget

A diverse set of processes link health care, education, sanitation, hygiene, access to resources and women empowerment

Nearly 4 percent of India’s GDP is estimated to have been lost due to malnutrition and certainly women and children deserve a better deal in expenditure outlay, since the country hosts 50 percent of undernourished children of the world and women and girl children fall last in the household food serving, said an ASSOCHAM-EY joint paper ahead of the union budget that will be presented on Thursday.

Quoting data from the National Family Health Survey-4, the ASSOCHAM-EY paper noted with concern that close to 60 percent of our children aged between 6 – 59 months are anaemic. It is only about 10 percent of the country’s total children who are receiving adequate diet.
The women and girl child, for whom the NDA government has launched flagship programmes, are no better in terms of their daily nutrition intake. About 55 percent of non-pregnant women and 58 percent of pregnant women aged between aged 15-49 years are anaemic.
“A large part of India continues to consume non-nutritious, non-balanced food either in the form of undernutrition, overnutrition or micronutrient deficiencies. It is important to understand that malnutrition derives not just from lack of food but from a diverse set of inter-linked processes linking health care, education, sanitation, hygiene, access to resources and women empowerment,” it said.
Assocham secretary general DS Rawat said, the government needs to pursue policies which “focus on removing health and social inequities. Programmes and policies that aim to address the nutrition burden present a double – win situation”.
Ernst and Young LLP Partner Amit Vatsyayan said: “While sub-optimal nutrition impacts the overall health and quality of life of people, it also adversely impacts the productivity of the country. It is estimated that that nearly 4 percent of the GDP is lost due to different forms of malnutrition.”
The adverse, irreversible and inter-generational impacts of malnutrition make optimal nutrition critical to the development of the country as a whole and all its citizens.
The paper said that in order to cater to the large unmet needs of micronutrients, it is imperative to focus on production diversity as well as food fortification at a macro level.
“For instance, millets are three to five times more nutritious than rice and wheat in terms of proteins, minerals and vitamins. They are cost effective crops as well; yet considered as poor people’s crop while rice and wheat are preferred over them. Millets are rich in Vitamin B, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc and are gluten-free. They are suitable for people with gluten allergies or those with high blood sugar levels”.