Cabinet approves distribution of fortified rice across Government Schemes

What is the news?

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, has given its approval for supply of fortified rice throughout the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) under the following schemes by 2024 in a phased manner.:

National Food Security Act (NFSA), Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman-PM POSHAN [erstwhile Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDM)] and,

Other Welfare Schemes (OWS) of Government of India in all States and Union Territories (UTs)

The entire cost of rice fortification (around Rs. 2,700 crore per annum) would be borne by the Govt. of India as part of food subsidy till its full implementation.

The FCI and State Agencies are already engaged in procurement of fortified rice.

What is rice fortification?

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) defines fortification as “deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients in a food so as to improve the nutritional quality of food and to provide public health benefit with minimal risk to health”.

Various technologies are available to add micronutrients to regular rice, such as coating, dusting, and ‘extrusion’. The last mentioned involves the production of fortified rice kernels (FRKs) from a mixture using an ‘extruder’ machine. It is considered to be the best technology for India.

The fortified rice kernels are blended with regular rice to produce fortified rice.

What is the need to fortify rice?

India has very high levels of malnutrition among women and children. According to the Food Ministry, every second woman in the country is anaemic, and every third child is stunted.

Fortification of food is considered to be one of the most suitable methods to combat malnutrition.

Rice is one of India’s staple foods, consumed by about two-thirds of the population. Therefore, fortifying rice with micronutrients is an option to supplement the diet of the poor.

Read more: Fortification in India – Explained, pointwise
What are the guidelines for fortification?

As per guidelines issued by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, the shape and size of the fortified rice kernel should “resemble the normal milled rice as closely as possible”

Under the Ministry’s guidelines, 10 g of FRK must be blended with 1 kg of regular rice.

According to FSSAI norms, 1 kg of fortified rice will contain the following:

– iron, folic acid, and vitamin B-12.

Rice may also be fortified with zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B-1, vitamin B-2, vitamin B-3 and vitamin B-6.

Source: This post is based on the following articles –

Cabinet approves distribution of fortified rice across Government Schemes” published in the PIB on 8th Apr 22.

Explained: What is fortified rice, and how is it prepared?” published in The Indian Express on 8th Apr 22.

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