Multiple micronutrient deficiencies are rampant in India, and continue to be significant public health problems, which adversely impact the health and productivity of all the population groups. More than 57% of children suffer from Vitamin A deficiency, which may be symptomatic or present at the sub-clinical level. In addition, a high proportion of pregnant women and their newborns suffer Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is also considered to play an important role in decreasing the risk of many chronic illnesses, including common cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Thus public health problems warrant public health intervention.
Edible oil is consumed by almost everyone. The edible oil industry in India is booming as per capita consumption has increased from 4 kilograms to 7.7 kilograms per year in rural areas and from 6.6 to 10 kilograms in urban households from 1987-88 to 2009-1011.As per Household Consumer Expenditure (HCE) Survey in India, NSSO report 2011, consumption of oil is reasonably high, about 20-30g / person / day and is consumed by all population groups. The edible oil industry is growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 5.44%. In 2014-15, the availability of edible oils in India was 21.7 million tonnes. The demand for edible oils is projected (projections for 2020) to rise between 22.8 and 29.4 million tons in the near future in tandem with the average per capita income growing at 4-6%11. Over 60 percent of the market share of edible oil in the country comes from the organised sector. Large quantities of oil is purchased and used in the government financed food supplementation schemes like the Midday Meal and the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme. The vast network of PDS is paving way for fortified oil being readily available at the door step of the poorest segment of the population.
Edible oil has almost 99% penetration in Indian households thus, making it a potent vehicle for fortification. Moreover, since vitamin A and D are fat-soluble vitamins, fortification of edible oils and fats with vitamin A and D is a good strategy to address micronutrient malnutrition. Fortified oil is known to provide 25%-30% of the recommended dietary allowances for vitamins A&D.
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