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Current Affairs

Adding micronutrients to rice

Date: 20 August 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

The rice distributed to public under various government schemes will be fortified, as announced by PM Modi on Independence Day.

 

Background

The government provides food grains to citizens under schemes such as midday meals and public distribution system (PDS).

 

Details

  • The definition of food fortification by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) says that it is an artificial process of increasing the content of essential micronutrients in a food.

  • The process if carried out to enhance the nutritional quality of food and provide health benefits for public with minimal health risk.

  • Rice fortification process involves adding essential micronutrients to rice grains. This is done to improve dietary requirements.

 

Fortification method

  • Methods for rice fortification include coating and dusting. Extrusion is considered the best technology for rice fortification in India.

  • Using extruder machine, fortified rice kernels (FRKs) are produced. These kernels are then blended with regular rice to produce fortified rice.

 

Extrusion technology

  • Rice is made into dry flour, which is then mixed with required micronutrients. They are then heated in specialized twin-screw extruder to form kernels similar to rice.

  • The kernels are then dried and packaged to be sold as regular rice. This product has a shelf life of 12 months.

 

Need for rice fortification

  • Malnutrition among women and children is high in India. The country falls under serious hunger category in Global Hunger Index (GHI).

  • Rice is consumed by two-thirds of the population. It can thus contribute to improvement of malnutrition condition in India.

 

Cooking fortified rice

Fortified rice has same physical properties as normal rice. It has to be washed before cooking. The micronutrient levels do not vary after cooking.

 

Cost of rice fortification

The cost will be about 0.60 per kg for nutrients such as iron, Vitamin B12 and folic acid. The cost will be shared by centre and states.

 

Previous implementation

  • Pilot scheme for distributing fortified rice is running in states such as Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, and Madhya Pradesh.

  • Countries such as Philippines, USA, Nicaragua, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Panama have compulsory rice fortification.