Anupriya Patel, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, on 16 October 2016 inaugurated National Summit on Fortification of Food in New Delhi.
The Summit was inaugurated to address interventions in combating micronutrient malnutrition in the country.
The two day summit was co-hosted by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in partnership with related union ministries/departments and development partners.
During the Summit, Patel also released the standards on fortification of foods and launched the food fortification logo.
What is food fortification?
• Food fortification or enrichment is the process of adding micronutrients to food.
• It may be a purely commercial choice to provide extra nutrients in a food. Other times, it is a public health policy which aims to reduce the number of people with dietary deficiencies within a population.
• Sometimes the staple foods of a region can lack particular nutrients, due to the soil of the region or because of the inherent inadequacy of the normal diet. Addition of micronutrients to staples and condiments can prevent large-scale deficiency diseases in these cases.
• As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), fortification refers to “the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, ie. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in a food irrespective of whether the nutrients were originally in the food before processing or not, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and to provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health.”
• Food fortification was identified as the second strategy of four by the WHO and FAO to begin decreasing the incidence of nutrient deficiencies at the global level.