Rice can be fortified using dusting, coating or extrusion technology. Extrusion is the technology of choice for rice fortification given the stability of micronutrients in the rice kernels across processing, storage, washing and cooking, also in view of cost considerations.
In extrusion technology, milled rice is pulverized and mixed with a premix containing vitamins and minerals. Fortified rice kernels (FRK) are produced from this mixture using an extruder machine. The kernels resemble rice grains. FRK is added to non-fortified rice in ratio ranging from 1:50 to 1: 200 resulting in fortified rice nearly identical to traditional rice in aroma, taste, and texture. It is then distributed for regular consumption.
The cost of fortification is determined by a multitude of context specific variables such as the structure and capacity of the rice industry, the complexity of the supply chain, the policy and regulatory environment and the scale of the relevant programme. A typical low cost -150 kgs per hour- twin screw extruder with all ancillary equipment costs 35 – 40 lakhs INR upwards. A good quality extrusion line may cost up to 13.5 crore INR. Utility costs like purified water plant, steam generator, air compressor and packaging lines are not included here. The retail price increase for fortified rice ranges from an additional 1% to 10%. As rice fortification expands, production and distribution achieve economies of scale, costs are expected to reduce. Fortifying rice is cost-effective; the additional cost to the consumer inclusive of all associated costs is expected to vary between 0.4-1.3 INR per kg depending on the nutrients added.
The technology for fortifying wheat flour is simple and cost effective. In India, 80-85 percent of wheat is processed in the unorganized sector in the chakkis to make atta, whereas only 15-20 percent of the wheat is processed in the roller flour mills which produce white flour (maida), semolina and resultant atta. The technology of flour fortification in a roller flour mill is simple, available and quality control procedures are well established. India also has experience with chakki level fortification. The cost of fortification of wheat flour is around 5-8 paise per kg.
Fortification of wheat flour requires a premix feeder to add vitamins and minerals into flour and a blender to ensure uniform mixing of the micronutrients. Mills planning to undertake wheat flour fortification must also ensure adherence to internal and external quality control systems.
Depending on the size of the mill, that is whether it is a roller flour mill or commercial chakki mill, the one-time capital cost of purchasing equipments and setting up a laboratory for qualitative tests for internal quality assurance would vary between 80,000 INR to 150,000 INR. Ministry of Food Processing, Governemnt of India, provides grants to cover such upgaradation of production facilities. The cost for fortification of atta and maida is very minimal. The cost of the premix is largely determined by the number of vitamins and minerals included and the quantity of each nutrient. However, the approximate cost for fortification of one kg wheat flour would come to around 3 to 15 paisa with iron, folic acid and B12.
Salt iodisation involves the technology of simple drip feed equipment to dose Potassium Iodate (KIO3) solution to the raw salt to a very sophisticated dewatering and salt drying and packing system which would approximately cost at least one and half Crore to set up, having output of 10 metric ton/ hour production capacity.
Technology for Fortification of Double Fortification of Salt
India possesses sound technology to produce DFS which is stable, bioavailable, effective and safe. There are many technologies available to make DFS, prominent being the NIN technology and Micronutrient Initiative technology. Both are available in India and many iodised salt producers have access to the technologies and capability to produce DFS.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has approved production of DFS by mixing iodized salt with either/or Ferrous Sulphate and Encapsulated Ferrous Fumarate. While producing DFS with Ferrous Sulphate, Sodium hexametaphosphate (SHMP) has been used as a stabilizer, Ferrous Fumarate has been encapsulated with Soya Stearin to prevent interaction between iodine and iron. DFS as a product is stable in both formulations, is indistinguishable in taste, color, and smell from regular salt and has been proved efficacious in addressing IDA and IDD.
DFS technology can be easily integrated with little modifications in existing iodized salt processing facilities by adding a ribbon blender to blend the iron compound to iodized salt to produce DFS.
Given limited commercialization of the product, the incremental cost per kilogram of salt on account of addition of iron remains unclear. It is however, anticipated that the increase in cost of DFS could be 20-50% greater than iodized salt per kilogram. There are commercial brands available which costs from INR 14 to 25 per kilogram of DFS.
The technology of fortification is simple and easily achievable by producers. As these are fat-soluble vitamins, they permit easy and cost-effective addition without the need for elaborate equipment and can be uniformly distributed in oil . Dosing technology for adding anti-oxidants and other micro ingredients to oil is routine .
While for many oils a temperature of 40-50º C is required to assure uniform mixing, the threshold to ensure uniform liquid state for soybean oil is less than about 25º C. Producers generally report minimal adjustments to add vitamin A, D, E. Since other additives are often used, personnel and technology are already in place. The additional cost due to fortification is 7 paise per litre of oil with Vitamin A and D.
The technology to fortify milk is simple, well-established, available, and the cost of fortification is low. Vitamin A and D premixes are widely available in India and cost of fortification is mere 2-4 paise for fortification/ litre of milk.
The premix for Vitamin A is in the form of Retinyl Acetate/Retinyl Palmitate/Retinyl Propionate and Vitamin D is Ergocalciferol. India, there is uniform blending of premix with milk without the need for a homogenizer.
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