What is Food Fortification : How to identify fortified food from package?


     Food Fortification is the process of adding a particular or a group of nutrients to a food product in its absorbable form. This is normally done to fight malnutrition and build the coming generations healthy. India is a country where more than 50% of children under the age of 5 are malnourished.

    Malnutrition can cause adverse effects such as stunted growth, improper or poor health and eyesight, etc. So government-mandated fortification of few products as in the case of salt. Iodine deficiency was a major issue among Indians and the government banned non-iodized salt in the country. Iodine deficiency leads to issues in thyroid and its hormone functions and leads to hypothyroidism which is a critical health situation.

          Indian government has launched a campaign called #Poshanabhiyan to promote awareness about nutrition and importance of nutrition. It is supported by food fortification resource center (FFRC) of FSSAI

    Now FSSAI has introduced a logo to fortified foods so that consumers are aware of the fact that a product is fortified or not. This is a very good approach from the regulator that it is setting a mandate that helps the consumer in identifying the products he chooses. Fortified products are to be labeled with the following logo on its packaging.

    Few common products being fortified and the nutrient with which the product being fortified are described below:

1. Edible Oils

    Edible oils are being fortified with vitamin A and vitamin D.  Vitamin A is richly found in carrot, lettuce, bell peppers, grapefruit, etc. Since studies have shown that a large population is suffering from a deficiency of vitamin A and resultant deficiency syndromes such as vision problems, the government has decided it make vitamin A fortification compulsory in edible oils. Vitamin D is synthesized in our body with the help of sunlight. Due to the changed lifestyle, being a tropical country a large population of India is suffering from vitamin D deficiency. Hence Government decided edible oils should be fortified with vitamin D also.

2. Milk

    Vitamin A & D are also being added to milk as milk is being consumed largely by almost all populations on a daily basis. Vitamin A and D that is added to milk, help to improve the body's immunity against infections, improve vision, and help to make the bones strong.

3. Double Fortified Salt (DFS)

Double Fortified Salt is fortified with Iodine and Iron. This salt can provide you 100% of your daily Iodine requirement and 30-50% of your daily Iron requirement. Sufficient levels of Iodine and Iron in the growing stage children help in growth, brain development, immunity and higher IQ.