Fortified Rice

Context:

• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today has accorded its approval for supply of fortified rice throughout the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) under the 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) by 2024 in a phased manner.

What is fortified rice?

• 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”.

How is it produced?

• There are various ways in which fortified rice is produced 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.

Why is it necessary?

• There is high prevalence of malnutrition in India specially among the 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.
• As rice is one of India’s staple foods, consumed by about two-thirds of the population, this would be the most efficient way to combat malnutrition.

Source: THE HINDU

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