FSSAI Plans to Introduce Doubly Fortified Foods, But it’s Not Meant for All


Fortified foods are recommended to individuals whose nutrient deficiencies are not managed by dietary supplementation.

Earlier this year, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had set up a panel to draft guidelines on food fortification, which is created to curb nutrition deficiencies. The panel had defined strategies to address nutritional needs of the general population and vulnerable groups, besides reviewing the standards for all suitable food fortifying vehicles. Now, FSSAI plans to introduce doubly fortified wheat flour and salt, which are not meant for everyone but only those who suffer from deficiencies of iron and calcium. Familiar with iodised salt or calcium enriched milk? They are a result of food fortification.

Food fortification basically refers to the process of adding essential micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, to food staples to make them more nutritious. Fortified foods are recommended to individuals whose nutrient deficiencies are not managed by dietary supplementation due to the insufficient absorption of minerals. However, those who follow a balanced diet, including vegetables, whole grains, legumes, green leafy vegetables, lean meat, fish and dairy products, shouldn't be consuming fortified foods.

However, FSSAI officials didn't receive encouragement from the food industry on this matter. FSSAI's latest move would require food companies to appoint specialised personnel and procure additional raw materials and standardised chemicals for the fortification process.

While fortified foods is a stepping stone towards preventing malnutrition on a large scale, health experts point out the fact that there could be chances of increased toxicity as well, if proper method of fortification is not carried out by the respective food brands. If consumed by those who do not suffer from nutrient deficiencies, it could even lead to side effects and weight gain. Therefore there needs to be strict guidelines and awareness initiatives related to doubly fortified foods.