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Wheat Fortification: Introduction

India has a fairly high consumption of wheat flour with an average per person consuming about 200-250 g per day, equalling to an aggregate annual consumption of around 70 MMT. Wheat flour is therefore a suitable vehicle to improve the nutrition status of the citizens through fortification.

Fortification of wheat flour with Iron, Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 offers one of the most feasible and cost-effective strategy to combat anaemia and other micronutrient deficiencies that impact more than 50% of India's population across the population groups and geographies, affecting all socio-economic classes equally. Wheat flour fortified as per the recommendations from FSSAI will provide one third of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of various essential vitamins and minerals. Some of the health of fortifying wheat flour is -

  1. Helps in the prevention of neural tube defects caused due to folic acid deficiency.
  2. Adequate intake of vitamin B12 improves mental growth and development of children
  3. Iron helps children develop physically and mentally, and improves the health of pregnant women.

In addition to adding iron, folic acid and Vitamin B-12 in wheat flour, Zinc, Vitamin A, Thiamine, Riboflavin (Vitamin B 2), Niacin, and Pyridoxine (Vitamin B 6) can also be added either singly or in combination.

Many state governments have initiated providing fortified wheat flour through government funded programmes. Several regional brands and major FBOs like General Mills, ITC Limited, Patanjali and Hindustan Unilever Limited are launching fortified atta in the market in the next couple of months.