Rice fortification

Rice Fortification | What are Fortified Rice?

Rice Fortification:

Fortification is the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, i.e. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in a food, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health.

Rice is the dominant staple food crop of approximately half of the population worldwide. Micronutrient deficiencies of public health significance are widespread in most countries consuming high levels of rice; thus rice fortification has the potential to help aid vulnerable populations that are currently not reached by wheat or maize flour fortification programmes. However, rice production is often done domestically or locally which could make mass fortification programs challenging.

Rice can be fortified by adding a micronutrient powder to the rice that adheres to the grains or spraying of the surface of ordinary rice grains in several layers with a vitamin and mineral mix to form a protective coating. Rice can also be extruded and shaped into partially precooked grain-like structures resembling rice grains, which can then blended with natural polished rice. A technical challenge is to produce fortified rice that resembles natural rice and resists normal meal preparation and cooking processes.

Why Rice Fortification?

Fortifying rice makes it more nutritious by adding vitamins and minerals in the post – harvest phase; many of which are lost during the milling and polishing process. Rice fortification may be considered as having the highest potential to fill the gap in current staple food fortification programs as it is the staple food of 65 percent of the Indian population and reaches the most vulnerable and poorer section – with the highest uptake in the government safety net programmes .The food and civil supplies department of each state empanels a number of rice millers in each district for regular supply of rice to the FCI, from which it is distributed to the social safety net schemes.

Source: FSSAI, WHO

salt fortification

Salt Fortification: Adding Iodine to Salt can increase your IQ

According to an estimate more than Two billion people worldwide are at risk for iodine deficiency, caused by low iodine content in soil and groundwater and dietary differences.Over 140 countries have implemented Universal Salt Iodisation (USI) across the globe so far according to WHO Policy. Dr.Wiktoria Tafesse and researchers at the University of Sussex analyzed the impact of a recent mandatory salt iodisation policy implementation in India on literacy and numeracy scores of children in rural India.The investigators found that Iodine fortification of salt increases children’s numeracy and literacy skills by up to 6% thereby strengthening the argument for Universal Salt Iodisation (USI). The study also found that there is a gender difference on the impact of iodine fortification, with improvements seen in girls’ overall reading score but no change of effect found for boys.The study has been presented at the Royal Economic Society annual conference in Brighton.

Medical research shows strong associations between iodine deficiency in utero and early postnatal life and permanently low IQ, and the research suggests that the positive effects of fortification carry into childhood and beyond.

The causal impact of salt iodisation was analysed by comparing the trajectories in the attainment of those children who experienced salt iodisation in early life to those who were too old to benefit from the new Indian iodisation policy, across districts with and without a geographical predisposition to iodine deficiency.

The data revealed that being exposed to the policy in early life improved the likelihood of recognizing simple letters and numbers by up to 6%.

As the children were tested in the home, the changes can’t be attributed to any changes in school policy or attendance and show that the results were not driven by coincidental improvements in health or access to school.

The UK has been identified as a country with mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency in pregnant women. Adequate iodine intake among pregnant women is critical for the brain development of the foetus and thus permanent cognitive attainment of the next generation.

Over 140 countries have implemented Universal Salt Iodisation (USI) across the globe so far, but the UK has not adopted legislation on salt iodisation despite USI being viewed as a simple and cost-effective way to increase iodine levels in the general population.

Source: www.speciality.medicaldialogues.in