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Current Affairs

Fortified rice

Date: 11 April 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A scheme to distribute fortified rice under government programme has been announced by the Union Cabinet.

 

Background

The Prime Minister had previously announced that fortified rice will be provided under schemes such as a public distribution system (PDS) and midday meals in schools.

 

Details

About 88.65 LMT (lakh tonnes) of fortified rice has been procured by Food Corporation of India and state agencies for distribution.

 

Fortification

  • It is a process of deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients in a food so as to improve the nutritional quality.

  • The process increases the health of consumers and reduces health risks. Various techniques have been used to add micronutrients to regular rice.

 

Process

Extrusion, coating and dusting are the methods used to fortify the rice. Extrusion is best for India and mixes fortified kernels with normal rice.

 

Extrusion method

  • In this method, premix of micronutrients and water is added to rice flour. It is then passed through a twin-screw extruder with heating zones, which produces kernels similar in shape and size to rice.  

  • There are guidelines for making fortified rice kernels look like normal grains. They usually have a shelf life of 12 years.

 

Need for rice fortification

  • Malnutrition level among women and children is very high in India. Majority of the country has rice as the primary staple.

  • Fortifying rice will ensure that diet of people is supplemented. It will be the most suitable method to combat malnutrition.

 

Cooking and consumption

  • The rice needs to be cleaned and washed in the normal way before cooking and does not need any special procedures.

  • Even after cooking, the fortified rice retains the same level of micronutrients and physical properties as normal rice.

 

Cost of production

The cost of producing fortified rice with iron, folic acid, and vitamin B-12 is about 0.60 per kg.  An investment of Rs 15-20 lakh would be needed for setting up the unit.