Frequently Asked Questions(F.A.Q.)

Food fortification is the addition of vitamins and minerals to a staple food or any other food that is consumed in fairly consistent and sufficiently large amounts. Generally, food fortification is undertaken at the industrial level, although food fortification can also take place at the household or community levels.1
Deficiency of micronutrients and commensurate disorders such as anemia affect large segments of India’s population. Though they can affect all age groups, but young children and women of reproductive age tend to be among those, most at risk of developing micronutrient deficiencies. More than half of all women in the age group of 15-49 years, approximately a quarter of all men in the same age group and seven out of every ten children between 6-59 months of age are anemic in India2. Further in India, the micronutrient intake for most micronutrients is less than the recommended dietary allowances across all age groups and in most cases the gap varies between 50%-70%3.Micronutrient deficiency disorders (MNDs) have many adverse effects on human health, not all of which are clinically evident. Even moderate levels of deficiency can have serious detrimental effects on human functioning along with profound implications for economic development and productivity, particularly in terms of potentially huge public health costs and the loss of human capital. The control of MNDs is an essential part of the overall effort to fight hunger and malnutrition. Food based strategies namely dietary diversification and food fortification along with public health measures, nutrition education and supplementation are known evidence based approaches to address the situation.
A. Food fortification is a part of the package of interventions to address micronutrient deficiencies. The public health benefits of food fortification include: „„ Prevention or minimization of occurrence of micronutrient deficiency in a population or specific population groups. „„ Contribution to the correction of a demonstrated micronutrient deficiency in a population or specific population groups. „„ A potential for an improvement in nutritional status and dietary intakes that may be, or may become, suboptimal as a result of changes in dietary habits/lifestyles.
Food fortification offers a number of advantages: „„ Fortification requires neither changes in existing food patterns nor individual compliance. „„ Fortification is cost effective, especially if advantage can be taken of existing technology and delivery platforms. „„ Multi-micronutrient fortified foods are also better at lowering the risk of the multiple deficiencies that can result from several deficits in the food supply or a poor quality diet. It is usually possible to add one or serval micronutrients without adding substantially to the total cost of the food product at the point of manufacture.
Micronutrients are the nutrients which are required in miniscule amount by the body but have important role to play in the body functions. Vitamins and minerals are classified as micronutrients. Micronutrients help in formation of hormones and enzymes.
Premix is a mixture of micronutrients which is used to fortify any food.
Foods for fortification are chosen which are consumed by masses on large scale. Micronutrients are added to foods at following three levels: i. Staple Foods such as whole grain & milled cereals, oils & fats, sugar and salt ii. Basic Foods such as breads, biscuits, packaged cereals and dairy products iii. Value Added Foods such as condiments, beverages convenience foods and sweets and candies
Experiences in countries that are already fortifying show that fortified foods are completely safe for consumers and that the benefits are enormous. The amount of vitamins and minerals added to a specific food is usually set at a proportion of the individual’s daily requirement and is usually less than one third of the total RDA. Fortification is always strictly monitored and, by implementing stringent quality control measures, companies can ensure that there is no excessive intake of a specific vitamin or mineral.
Fortification has no impact on the shelf-life of a product. The vitamins and minerals have a shelf life of their own although they do become less active over time.
No. When deciding on the appropriate premix for food fortification, only those vitamins and minerals are considered, which will not change the appearance, taste, texture and flavour of the food. In some cases encapsulated micronutrients may be used to prevent the interaction of micronutrients with either the atmosphere or with other micronutrients. The concept is based on the fact that the consumer buying behaviour should not be affected by the fortification process.
Cost of food fortification is miniscule, ranging from Rs. 30 to Rs.100 per metric ton, or, just about 3 - 10 paisa per kg of food, depending on the type and number of micronutrients added and the staple food that is being fortified.
Yes, premix is manufactured from vegetarian sources.
Premix should be stored at 20-25 degree centigrade temperature, in a cool, dry place. Preferably in an air conditioned room.
No, never. Premix has micronutrients in the range of million grams or million international units, which is toxic for the body if consumed directly.
There is 10-15% loss of the micronutrients at boiling or frying temperature; and necessary overages are built into the pre-mix to take care of micronutrient losses during storage, processing and cooking.
Fortified wheat flour is made by adding nutrients to restore quantities lost during milling or additional nutrients are added to improve its nutritive value
Wheat flour is one of the most commonly consumed staple foods in India and a suitable food vehicle for fortification with iron, folic acid and vitamin B12. The average per capita per day consumption of wheat flour ranges between 150-300 grams in India. There is adequate evidence that fortification of wheat flour is one of the most effective, simple and an inexpensive strategy for supplying vitamins and minerals to large segments of the population without requiring change in food habits or dietary pattern or measures to address the problem of compliance.
Fortifying wheat flour with iron has been shown to improve iron status among specific populations. Many national studies have found that fortifying flour with folic acid reduced the incidence of birth defects such as neural tube defects by 31 to 78%. Several controlled research studies conducted in children and young women have demonstrated that regular consumption of fortified wheat flour with adequate levels of easily absorbed nutrients results in a significant reduction in the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies.
When appropriate levels of easily absorbed iron are used, fortification can impact iron status within 12 months after the program is fully implemented if the vulnerable population consumes fortified products daily. As it takes time for programs to be fully operational, fortification experts estimate it may be three years between fortification’s initiation and a nutritional impact on iron status. With folic acid, changes in folate status may be observed within 3 to 4 months after fortification is fully implemented. It will take at least 12 months to see an impact on neural tube defects because women need to be consuming folic acid at the time they conceive to prevent these birth defects.
The most common nutrients added to flour are iron, folic acid and vitamin B12. Other vitamins and minerals commonly added to flour are thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, zinc and vitamin A.
Fortification does not impact the organoleptic and food processing attributes of flour such as color, taste, smell when used in foods such as chapati (flat bread), baked products, breads and noodles. Also, the nutrients added to the flour as part of fortification are heat stable and not lost during cooking.
Fortification has very little impact on the shelf life of the product. However, vitamins and minerals added to the flour have their own shelf life, but they don’t necessarily change or reduce the shelf life of atta or maida. Shelf life of flour is largely influenced by the moisture content of flour, storage temprature, microbial contamination, hygiene and sanitation practices.
It is very easy to distinguish fortified flour and non-fortified flour. Fortified flour will have the fortified logo to claim that the packed flour product is fortified with micronutrients as specified by FSSAI. Non-fortified flour products cannot use the fortified logo.
A standard is a technical specification for fortification of wheat flour. A standard for fortified flour includes a list of vitamins and minerals to be included in flour. This provides a level that can be expected to have a publichealth impact. The flour fortification standard as established by Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) recommends to add iron, folic acid and B12 for claiming the atta or maida as a fortified product. Other nutrients such as zinc, vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin B6 may also be added for wheat flour fortification.
The following steps provide quality control and quality assurance at the flour mill. „„ Store premix in a dry, secure location and away from direct light to prevent degradation of the vitamins. „„ Calibrate the feeder on a regular basis and whenever the premix composition is changed or the supplier is changed. „„ Calculate the feed rate for the feeder to establish an acceptable dosage target addition rate for premix. „„ Conduct the check weighing process of the feeder regularly. „„ Perform the iron spot test at least three times per eight-hour shift. „„ Send monthly samples for full analytical testing of all the nutrients added to flour. „„ Use an inventory control system to verify that the amount of premix being used is close to the specified or target rate.
The fortification process is usually a continuous process that adds premix to flour as it is being produced. In some cases, fortification takes place in a high speed blending system following the flour milling process. In this case, this system is usually installed as part of a new flour-mill.
Stainless steel feeders accurately add premix directly to flour. The feeder is equipped with a variable speed drive motor which has a discharge mechanism and a hopper agitation device attached with a gearbox. The agitation device provides an even, consistent flow of premix into the flour.
Feeders have one of three discharge systems: Screw discharge, disk discharge and drum discharge. Most modern feeders use the screw discharge system. The size of the discharge screw and the speed range of the variable speed motor allow for a wide range of discharge rates. The feeders can be connected electronically or electrically to the main control panel or microprocessor that controls the flour mill. In addition, the feeder can be equipped with load cells which convert the feeder from a volumetric feeder into a gravimetric or loss-in-weight feeder.
The feeder is usually on top of the final flour collection conveyer where premix drops by gravity into flour as it move through the conveyer. When an existing mill has to install a feeder to begin fortification, there may not be room on top of the conveyer for a feeder. In this case the feeder can be installed on the same floor as the conveyer. The feeder is connected to the conveyer using a blow-line which blows the premix from the feeder into flour.
The feeder must consistently deliver premix to the flour conveyer at a point that allows for sufficient mixing time so that the premix is evenly dispersed in the flour. Tips for doing that are: „„ Place the feeder more than three meters from the discharge end of the conveyer where the premix is added. 13 „„ Interlock the feeder with the mill control panel or the first break sifter or the conveyer motor so that if the mill stops, the feeder stops. „„ Equip the feeder with a low level alarm indicator so that the feeder does not run out of premix.
A premix is a powdery blend of vitamins and minerals that flour millers use for fortification. Premixes are usually prepared with diluents so they can be added to flour at a standard dosage rate such as 200, 250, or 300 grams per metric ton. A premix allows a miller to add several micronutrients at the same time to flour. A standard premix specification also allows millers to compare prices from different suppliers on a standardized basis which will prevent pricing and costing errors. It has a vegetarian source of origin.
A number of reputable premix manufacturers and suppliers are located in Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Bangalore. Many companies of Indian origin have agencies operating in many countries. Many international pre-mix companies are also based in India and located in many places.
The cost of the premix is most affected by the number of vitamins and minerals included and the quantity of each nutrient. Vitamin A is the most expensive nutrient to include in flour. The following table gives an indication of the premix cost: Nutrients in Premix Cost Range per Metric Ton of Flour (INR) Iron (NaFeEDTA) and folic acid 120-130 Iron (NaFeEDTA), folic acid and B12 140-150 Iron (NaFeEDTA), folic acid and vitamin A 220- 250 Iron (Ferrous Sulphate) and folic acid 30-50 These estimates may vary depending on the premix market price and location of distribution. These prices do not reflect excise duty (ED), central state tax (CST) and value added tax (VAT). Millers should request premix price quotations from more than two suppliers to ensure competitive prices.
To fortify flour, the miller has the one-time expense of buying feeders plus the on-going costs of buying premix and supplies for quality control and quality assurance testing. The one-time capital cost of purchasing equipments and setting up a laboratory for qualitative tests for internal quality assurance is estimated between 80,000 INR to 150,000 INR.Some costs may be associated with staff training.
Children and pregnant and lactating women especially benefit from consuming fortified wheat flour as they require high levels of vitamins and minerals to support physical growth and the development of new tissues. The standards for fortification are set keeping in view that when many fortified foods reach the same population, the population is not consuming excessive levels of nutrients.
No side effects on health have been reported in the studies published on fortified wheat flour.
Rice fortification is the process of deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients in rice, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health.
India is a leading rice producing country, with 22% of the total global rice production and 65% of India’s population consumes rice on a daily basis. The per capita rice consumption in India is 6.8 kilogram per month. Rice is therefore a large source of calories and a core component of agriculture and nutrition in most of India, though low in micronutrients. Milling of rice removes the fat and micronutrient rich bran layers to produce the commonly consumed white rice while polishing further removes 75-90% of vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin E and niacin. Fortifying rice provides an opportunity to add back the lost micronutrients and to also add others such as iron, zinc, folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin A.
There are three main technologies available to produce fortified rice. They are: coating, extrusion and dusting. In the coating method, the nutrient (vitamin or mineral mix) is combined with ingredients such as waxes and gums. It is then sprayed on the surface of rice grains in several layers. This is then blended with polished rice at about a ratio of 1:100. In dusting, micronutrients in the form of fine particles are blended with bulk rice. This method makes use of the electrostatic forces between the rice surface and the micronutrients. Details on extrusion are provided below.
In India, rice is fortified using extrusion technology. In this 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. FRK is added to traditional 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.
Milled rice is pulverized and mixed with a premix containing vitamins and minerals. FRKs are produced from this mixture using an extruder machine. The kernels resemble rice grains. These kernels are then blended with milled rice in the proportion of 1: 50 to 1:200 (FRK: Traditional Rice).
Extrusion processing requires an extrusion assembly with a dryer to produce the fortified rice kernels. The function of various parts of extrusion set-up is as follows: Blender/Mixer: To uniformly blend the rice flour and the premix Preconditioning Unit: It hydrates the raw material and helps in homogeneity of the raw materials. Extruder Barrel: The heating of the dough & cooking happens at the extruder barrel. Ideally, a twin screw extruder would suit best for the purpose. Knife Assembly & Die Plate: It cuts the dough to facilitate movement to the die plate and the die plate is responsible for forming the kernels. Vibratory Conveyor: For separating the kernels from each other. Dryers: It is responsible for drying the end product to a desired moisture content.
Two types of blending are applicable for the production of fortified rice – continuous blending & batch blending. Continuous Blending: Applicable for large scale blending of the fortified rice. The batch blending involves the simultaneous addition of fortified rice kernels and the regular rice. A typical continuous blending assembly involves bins/hoppers for fortified rice kernels and normal rice, bucket elevators for transport, blending, air locks/flow balancers to regulate the flow or Fortified Rice Kernels/Regular Rice. Batch Blending: A batch blending assembly usually involves a bin for the fortified rice kernels, through which the kernels are dispensed into the blending unit where the normal rice and kernels are blended.
Equipment with variable flow mechanisms and modern mixing systems guarantee uniform mixing of the FRKs with rice and are used for blending. The different blenders available are – Ribbon/Paddle blenders, Rotary Batch Blenders, Vee Cone Blenders and fluidized bed blenders.
Quantity of rice to be fortified „„ Feasibility of installation „„ The blending unit should ensure that the FRKs are not broken in the process „„ Cost
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. 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 0.3-0.8 INR per kg depending on the above factors as well as the nutrients added.
All varieties of rice can be fortified; however this will require tailoring of fortified kernels accordingly.
There are more than 17 scientific publications in over 25 countries including India demonstrating that consumption of extruded fortified rice is safe and effective in women and children and can significantly address hemoglobin status, iron-deficiency anemia, iron deficiency (i.e., ferritin levels), and improve status of other critical micronutrients including vitamin A, zinc, folic acid, vitamin B12. It is also known to improve cognition and physical performance. Many more studies also support the acceptability of extruded fortified rice.
Yes- fortified rice is acceptable to the consumers. Fortified rice tastes, smells and looks the same as non-fortified rice.
In fortified rice made through extrusion technology, there is good retention of most nutrients over a wide variety of cooking and washing methods.
There are five countries in the world where rice is mandated to be fortified by law- these are Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines. Costa Rica is the country in the world with the most successful rice fortification programme. In addition to these countries, rice is also fortified voluntarily in Brazil, Dominican Republic, Colombia, South Africa and the United States of America.
Fortified rice could be delivered through the social safety nets of the Government namely the Targeted Public Distribution System, the Mid-Day Meal scheme as well as the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) as well as through open market channels.
Milk fortification is the process of adding vitamin A and D or other micronutrients to milk.
Recent National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (NNMB) survey and a report of the expert group of ICMR in 2012 stated that India has a very high burden of vitamin A and D deficiencies, amongst both young children and adults particularly those 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. When fat is removed from full-fat milk while processing it to produce toned and double toned milk, it also leads to depletion or loss of fat-soluble vitamins, especially the vitamins A and D. Fortification of milk thus helps to top up these lost vitamins. Frequently Asked Questions on Milk Fortification 22 Milk fortification benefits the low income population groups, who prefer the low fat milk due to the lower cost and many others who prefer consuming low-fat milk.
Technology for milk fortification is simple and equipment are readily available. The concept, technology and quality control procedures are well established for sustained production of fortified milk within India. Hence, appropriately and adequately fortified milk can be made available through the milk dairies and through the regular open market commercial channels.
Usually, vitamin A and D are added into milk for fortification.
Yes, premix is manufactured from vegetarian sources. Vitamin A in the form of Retinyl Acetate/Retinyl Palmitate/Retinyl Propionate and vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) that are added to milk for fortification are vegetarian in origin.
Consumption of any type of food is self-limiting. Considering that milk is fortified at 25-30% of the recommended dietary allowances (RDA), and that its consumption is self-limiting; a person cannot consume fortified milk in such high quantities that would exceed the upper safety levels of vitamin and mineral intake. Hence milk fortification is entirely safe. By applying strict monitoring and supervision measures, companies can ensure that fortification levels do not exceed the safe limits.
As water soluble forms of vitamin A and D are preferred for fortifying liquid milk in India, there is uniform blending of premix with milk without the need for a homogenizer. Also, when the fat layer is removed after boiling, these vitamins will remain in the liquid milk.
No. When deciding on the appropriate premix for milk fortification, only those vitamins are considered, which will not change the appearance, taste, texture and flavor of the milk. The concept is based on the fact that the consumer buying behavior should not be affected by the fortification process.
Fortification of milk is relatively inexpensive and affordable and costs less than 2 paise per litre. Micronutrient premixes for milk are made within India and are readily available at competitive prices.
Premix should be stored at 20-25 degree centigrade temperature, in a cool, dry place, preferably in an air conditioned room.
No, never. Premix has micronutrients in the range of million grams or million international units, which is toxic for the body if consumed directly.
There is 10-15% loss of the micronutrients during boiling of milk.
Milk processing and packaging dairies can state that their product (milk) is fortified with vitamins. But they need to indicate levels of added micronutrients on the label, as is required by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) Notification, New Delhi, dated the 1st August, 2011, F.No. 2-15015/30/2010
During 1984, the Department of Food introduced a scheme of fortification of milk with vitamin A to prevent nutritional blindness. During 1988-89, the total quantity of milk fortified with vitamin A through these dairies was around 3.2 million liters per day. Currently, Mother Dairy, Rajasthan Cooperative Dairy Federation, Haryana Milk Federation and many private dairies are fortifying milk.
Government of India, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, provides financial assistance to entrepreneurs for setting up food processing industries, including up-gradation/ modernization of food processing industries for fortification. Following link provides all details: http://mofpi.nic.in/ContentPage.aspx?CategoryId=233
When vitamins are added externally to edible oil to enhance its nutritional value, it is called edible oil fortification. Any type of oil like soybean oil, palmolein oil, groundnut oil, cotton seed oil, mustard oil etc. can be fortified.
Recent National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (NNMB) survey and a report of the expert group of ICMR in 2012 has stated that India has a very high burden of vitamin A and D deficiencies, amongst both young children and adults particularly those in urban areas are physically less active and have a very limited exposure to sunlight.
Oil fortification technology is simple. Equipment are readily available and the concept, technology and quality control procedures are well established for sustained production within India. Hence, appropriately and adequately fortified oil can be made available through the regular open market channels or through the public funded programmes like the ICDS, MDM and PDS.
Micronutrients are the nutrients which are required in miniscule amount by the body but have important role to play in the body functions. Vitamins and minerals are classified as micronutrients. Micronutrients help in formation of hormones and enzymes. Various micronutrients like vitamin A, D, E, omega 3 fatty acids which are fat soluble, have better stability in edible oil than other food vehicles, and can be uniformly distributed in oil, are used as fortificants to fortify edible oil.
Yes, premix is manufactured from vegetarian sources. Vitamin A in the form of Retinyl Acetate/Retinyl Palmitate/Retinyl Propionate and vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) is added.
Experiences in countries that are already fortifying edible oil (United States since 1930, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Morocco, Yemen, Pakistan, Tanzania, Indonesia, Uganda) show that fortified edible oil is completely safe for consumers and the benefits are enormous. Government of India mandated fortification of “Vanaspati” or the Hydrogenated oil fats and margarine, with vitamin A in 1953. Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan have been fortifying edible oil. The amount of vitamins added to oil is usually set at a proportion of the individual’s daily requirement and is usually less than one third of the total Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA). By applying strict monitoring and supervision measures, companies can ensure that there is no excessive intake of any vitamin.
Fortification has no impact on the shelf-life of any kind of edible oil. The vitamins have a shelf life of their own and they are reduced over a period of time.
No. When deciding on the appropriate premix for edible oil fortification, only those vitamins are considered, which will not change the appearance, taste, texture and flavour of the oil/food. The concept is based on the fact that the consumer buying behavior should not be affected by the fortification process.
Fortification of oil is relatively inexpensive and affordable. The cost of fortification per se is just about 8-10 paise per kg., depending upon the type and number of micronutrients added. Micronutrient premixes for oil are made within India and are readily available at competitive prices, depending on the type and number of micronutrients added.
Premix should be stored at 20-25 degree centigrade temperature, in a cool, dry place, preferably in an air conditioned room.
No, never. Premix has micronutrients in the range of million grams or million international units, which is toxic for the body if consumed directly.
As per various scientific evaluations, heating does not destroy vitamins completely, though frying can destroy vitamins (A, D and E) to some extent. The loss of vitamin A, D and E depends on the number of times the same oil is used for frying. There is an estimated loss of just about 20-25% of the vitamins originally added as fortificants. After repeatedly frying the oil 4 times, about 60% of the original levels of added vitamin are lost.
Oil producing and packaging companies can state that their product (edible oil) is fortified with vitamins and minerals. But they need to indicate levels of added micronutrients on the label, as is required by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) Notification, New Delhi, dated the 1st August, 2011, F.No. 2-15015/30/2010
Government of India, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, provides financial assistance to entrepreneurs for setting up food processing industries, including up-gradation/ modernization of food processing industries for fortification. Following link provides all details: http://mofpi.nic.in/ContentPage.aspx?CategoryId=233
The feeder must consistently deliver premix to the flour conveyer at a point that allows for sufficient mixing time so that the premix is evenly dispersed in the flour. Tips for doing that are: „„ Place the feeder more than three meters from the discharge end of the conveyer where the premix is added. 13 „„ Interlock the feeder with the mill control panel or the first break sifter or the conveyer motor so that if the mill stops, the feeder stops. „„ Equip the feeder with a low level alarm indicator so that the feeder does not run out of premix.
Double fortified salt is adequately iodized salt further fortified with iron either in the form of ferrous sulphate or encapsulated ferrous fumarate. These two formulations have been approved by Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI). While production process of DFS with ferrous sulphate is developed by National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad, the alternative process of production of DFS with encapsulated ferrous fumarate is developed by Micronutrient Initiative and University of Toronto.
Salt is an ideal vehicle to use for delivering iron and iodine because it is a staple food that is used by everyone. It is an essential part of preparing and cooking food and is universally consumed. The successful and well established salt iodization infrastructure offers an opportunity to integrate iron as a second nutrient to tackle both iron and iodine deficiencies.
Anemia (iron deficiency) and iodine deficiency are most often found in infants and young children under the age of 5 and in women of childbearing age, predominantly in populations of developing countries. If taken on a regular/daily basis, these people would greatly benefit from a salt that is fortified with both iodine and iron.
The use of DFS in developing countries would not only help in improving the general population’s diet, but would also help reduce the health problems and health costs related to iodine and iron deficiencies. The DFS would be a benefitting component to the search for a solution to treat anemia and iodine deficiency disorders at a very minimal increase in cost and in a simple, feasible manner.
DFS is designed for use as a regular salt for cooking and as table salt. Saltiness of the food will limit excess use of DFS by accident. Based on an estimated average salt consumption of 10 g per person/day, the DFS is designed to provide 100% daily requirement for iodine and 30% for iron.
Stability tests conducted in the laboratory settings as well as in field distribution and storage conditions have shown that the DFS is stable even in humid tropical climates with high temperatures, and are acceptable for human consumption as an alternative to iodized salt. The suggested shelflife is 12 months from the date of opening of the package.
Consumer acceptability tests indicated that most consumers find DFS to be acceptable in terms of taste and color. The majority of consumers considered DFS more acceptable when considering its enhanced nutritional value compared to iodized salt. Sensory acceptability tests under typical household use, preservation and cooking practices in refugee camps and community feeding programs showed that DFS is well consumed as a replacement for iodized salt. DFS has been designed for use in cooking and as table salt in a similar daily usage of iodized salt.
At present DFS is available in a limited scale in commercial markets. One kilogram of DFS costs INR 14 to 25 at retail level.
Iodized Salt producers can produce DFS. Government of Tamil Nadu is using DFS in Mid Day Meal and ICDS programs across the state.
Studies conducted by NIN and MI using different types of DFS showed improvement in condition of anaemia in the target population. Hence, it could be concluded that DFS could be one of the effective food fortification strategies to address anaemia.
DFS should be stored in the same way as iodized salt. Both iodized salt and DFS should be stored in a closed container away from sun light.
While cooking DFS should be added in the similar fashion of iodized salt which should be added towards the end of the cooking process as per taste.
IODISED SALT
Iodised salt is common salt to which a very small quantity of an iodine compound has been added. Iodised salt looks, tastes and smells exactly like common salt and is used in the same way, and for the same purposes. Iodised salt is used to prevent iodine deficiency disorders (IDD).
The daily requirement of iodine for an adult is 150 micrograms. Pregnant women and lactating mothers however, need more iodine (200 micrograms on average). The usual sources of iodine containing foods are meat, fish vegetables, milk, cereals and water.
Our normal requirement of iodine comes directly or indirectly from crops grown on iodine rich soil, from fish and seaweeds. So, when the soil of any area lacks iodine, the crops too are deficient in this essential nutrient. People, who eat these crops regularly, do not get their requirement of iodine and ultimately develop iodine deficiency.
Thyroid hormones are essential for normal growth, development and functioning of both the brain and body. Lack of iodine results in deficiency of these hormones and results in a wide spectrum of disorders, collectively called iodine deficiency disorders (IDD). Iodine deficiency can lead to goiter, cretinism, deafness, dumbness, squint and mental retardation.
Salt is an ideal vehicle for addition of iodine as it is usually needed in fairly constant daily amounts. Salt is thus the most suitable food item for iodine fortification, and is effectively being used in many developed and developing countries. The techniques for iodization are simple and well established. The added iodine does not affect the appearance or taste of salt and is well accepted by the consumer.
All of us need only a certain amount of iodine to function normally. If this iodine is already available, the body will simply reject any additional quantities and excrete it unused through urine. On the other hand, if someone is deficient in iodine, the thyroid gland will use as much iodine as it needs and reject the rest. This makes iodine safe for everyone.
Every day, for all time to come. If one lives in an iodine-deficient environment, there is no likelihood of the deficiency being corrected at the source, namely, in the soil. On the contrary, the increased degradation of our environment is making the problem worse. Large scale deforestation, among other things, has led to increased flooding and erosion of the topsoil, which carries away the iodine. Using iodised salt every day is the only way to protect ourselves and our children from the tragic and completely preventable effects of iodine deficiency. It is a small investment towards helping our children, and their children, to get the best chance to grow up with healthy bodies.