We have all heard micro nutrients and vitamins are essential for our growth and maintaining good health. And the issue of looking at nutrition from a micro nutrition point of view is not new. School books have already made us aware that they are essential for our body. But we really do not bother about it too much. We are not really into keeping a track about what ingredients we are getting from consuming a particular item.
Food Fortification Resource Centre (FFRC) is trying to contribute towards providing these nutrients to every person on a daily basis. FFRC is working with many doctors and scientists who have identified five major nutrient deficiency which can be found in our country listed as Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Iron, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 and Iodine. They have formed a team under FFSC which is trying to provide fortified food to the people which can meet the basic requirement of nutrients in a person life.
“Deficiency of micro nutrients has been a major concern in the current time in our country. They best thing about them is that they can be added to common staples that we take on daily basis,” says Pawan Kumar Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI. He further adds, “We are trying to mix those ingredients in the daily eating items like rice, wheat, flour etc so that the proper amount of nutrition reaches to every house at a cost which is genuine and normal.”
The food safety watchdog is making sure that the right amount of nutrients is added to the staples so that it is not too little and not too big in amount. If it is going to be too little then it’s not going to have any effect and if it’s too much then it causes toxicity. FSSAI is scientifically making sure that what would be the appropriate amount for making the product perfect in providing nutrients. They are setting up the standard along with designing the logo for the fortified product so that the common man is aware which food is fortified and which is not.
Currently 92 per cent of the population consumes iodized salt in India. From the last one decade, the use of adequately iodized salt in India has gradually increased saving 4 billion IQ points in the last one decade. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi has been continuously involved with the Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD) elimination programme in India since the last six decades.
Our body need essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals in very small quantities on a daily basis to function normally fighting diseases and being healthy. Over 70% of people in India are still consuming less than half of their recommended dietary allowance of micronutrients which is affecting their health.
“Awareness of vitamin and mineral deficiencies is very low because of which most of the people are unaware of what is missing in our diets. Chronic fatigue, joint pains or low immunity is likely to happen because of this only,” Kumar further adds. Fortified food with added micronutrients helps in address this in a simple, unobtrusive way. It is also the most cost effective, scalable and sustainable way to address this public health issue.
There is a need to create demand for fortified food in food industry so that businesses become aware of it. They should start producing fortified staples in order to serve people with food filled with basic nutrients.