What is fortification of foods and why is it beneficial?

Deficiency of nutrients has led us to struggle with malnutrition and hidden hunger. Hence, in a hope to improve nutrition quality of the population, and the government established schemes/laws that helped eradicate them at large.

July 13, 2022

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What is Food Fortification?

Food fortification is simply an addition of extra vitamins, and minerals such as Iron, Calcium, Iodine, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E etc. to food products to improve/increase in the nutritional content. The deficiency of nutrients has led us to struggle with malnutrition and hidden hunger. And these deficiencies can be observed in both urban as well as rural populations. Hence, in the hope to improve the nutrition quality of the population, the government established schemes/laws that helped eradicate them at large.

Now, what was the easiest way to do that? Let us find out!

Food fortification in Staples

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You may observe, especially if you are a mother - terms like Fortified with Vitamins A & Vitamins D in milk, certain flours/rice fortified by additional iron/ folic acid or commonly known Iodised Salt (where Iodine is actually a fortification and is not ideally present in salt etc. on the pack of the food product. These foods have a common denominator and can be categorized as staple food used by everyone regardless of how much you earn and where you belong.

Hence, the government bodies especially devised to include fortification in Staples which includes oils, wheat flours, rice, milk, common salt etc.

The Food Fortification Resource Centre, under FSSAI, is a support Centre that promotes large-scale fortification of food across India providing information, and inputs to food industries on various levels so they adopt Food Fortification as a norm.

Fortified food contains a ‘Fortification Mark’,

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Can other foods be also fortified?

Yes, there is no doubt other foods can be fortified and that can actually be added value to you! Sometimes, in manufacturing a food product certain essential nutrients, especially the micronutrients like vitamins & minerals can be lost. Food fortification can help restore good and variety in the nutrition content in the product and also benefit consumers at large!

How to Look for them? How do I know if my Food is fortified?

A fortified food usually carries a Fortification logo on the packet, which is the best way to identify it! It can be also mentioned on the label, below the ingredients listed in the product if it is fortified and what it is fortified with! As a parent or even as a health-conscious individual, fortification can benefit you and your family at large and also reduce the gap of your deficiencies and help improve your food plate!

So, the next time you are eating your favourite product or buy a particular food, turn the pack and check if they are fortified!

We have started a Choose Right blog series educating you on how to make the right choice! This series will guide you on things to look out for on food labels and how not to be misled and check your facts right on the same.

References:

https://ffrc.fssai.gov.in/

https://fssai.gov.in/cms/fortified-food.php

https://www.fda.gov/regulatory-information/search-fda-guidance-documents/guidance-industry-questions-and-answers-fdas-fortification-policy

https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/labelling_nutrition/vitamins_minerals_en

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Rashida Vapiwala (Founder at LabelBlind®, Food Label Specialist, Ph.D (Food Science and Nutrition))

Rashida is passionate about solving problems for the food industry using technology. She loves creating tech-led solutions in the space of Nutrition.

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