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Boost for food fortification as FSSAI honours early adopters at summit
Thursday, 25 May, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
At its recent national summit, whose theme was Transforming the Food Safety and Nutrition Landscape, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) recognised and awarded early food fortification adopters from both the private sector and state governments.

The 2016 essay of the national summit witnessed the operationalisation of comprehensive regulations on food fortification and the launch of the logo for fortified foods. The event placed food fortification on the national agenda and gave the sector a rallying point to adopt it voluntarily.

Across the five commodities - wheat flour, rice, edible oil, milk and rice - were a host of early (and voluntary) adopters of fortification from amongst food businesses. The country’s apex food regulator commended its commitment to addressing micronutrient malnutrition, a public health issue that affects 70 per cent of Indians.

Private players

Wheat flour
Future Consumer Ltd and Navbharat Flour Mills were awarded for being early adopters of wheat flour fortification. While the former sells fortified atta under the brand name Golden Harvest at Big Bazaar stores pan-India, the latter sells the same under the brand name Vitamin + across four northern states.
Rice
LT Foods, a key market player in rice, bagged the accolade for its production of fortified rice kernels for the government of Odisha. They are launching fortified rice in the open market as well.

Edible oil
Cargill India Private Limited and Adani Wilmer were honoured for fortifying all their edible oil brands available in the open market.

Milk
In the milk category, Mother Dairy and Kwality Dairy were awarded for the pan-India coverage of their fortified milk variants. The former was the first to adopt the +F logo on all their toned and double toned milk.

Very soon, 50 per cent of all oil and milk available in the organised market will be fortified. That is a huge leap for fortification.

Salt
In the salt category, Tata Chemicals already has a double fortified salt brand (Tata Plus) in the market.

For each of the commodities, a number of special mentions were also given out to other key private sector players.

For wheat flour, General Mills, Kumar Atta Chakki and ITC received special mentions, while for rice, DCP India was the special mention recipient. Marico received a special mention in the oil category and Ankur Chemicals and Tata Trusts in the salt category.

The milk industry, which was one of the earliest adopters of fortification, had three special mentions - the Haryana Dairy Development Cooperative Federation (Vita), the Punjab Milk Federation (Verka) and the Jharkhand Milk Producers’ Federation (Medha).

In addition to the private sector, a number of state governments were also recognised and awarded for adopting fortified staples through the various social safety net programmes.

In Odisha, rice fortification started in one district and is being scaled up to fourteen additional districts through the mid-day meal (MDM) programme.

Karnataka is also providing fortified rice through its MDM programme in seven districts.

Haryana has been providing double-fortified salt through the integrated child development services (ICDS) scheme and reaching over two lakh anganwadi centres. It is currently also in the process of fortified wheat flour procurement.

Rajasthan has taken the lead in fortified oil and fortified milk, which are being sold across the entire state.

A special mention was given to West Bengal for being the first in the country to incorporate fortified wheat flour into the public distribution system (PDS).

The details of all the awardees and special mentions can be found on the website of the Food Fortification Resource Centre (FFRC), which is also the resource hub for all fortification-related activities and information.

This is the first time that a nationwide, integrated initiative on staple food fortification has been launched to fight micronutrient malnutrition.

The recognition of such a large number of stakeholders at the award ceremony served as a promising sign that the initiative continues to gain momentum.
 
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