Food fortification holds significance promise to address public health: G. Kamala Vardhana Rao, CEO, FSSAI

Food fortification holds significance promise to address public health: G. Kamala Vardhana Rao, CEO, FSSAI

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) chief executive officer G. Kamala Vardhana Rao said that there's room for innovation in developing new fortification techniques and products that are more accessible and cost-effective for all at an ASSOCHAM event held at New Delhi on 25 April 2024.

At the ASSOCHAM National Conference on 'Scaling up Food Fortification for Nutritional Security-The Way Forward' inaugurated by G. Kamala Vardhana Rao, chief executive officer, FSSAI highlighted that many people are unaware of the benefits of fortified foods given the huge food industry. The Indian government has shown commitment to addressing malnutrition through the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) policies, which provides guidelines and regulations for food fortification.

FSSAI chief executive officer also focused on adding more eggs and milk after intervention with quality testing of food. There are procedures undertaken to make good rice and all types of cereals and pulses for the best use of nutritious food. India is a vast source for food ingredients and resources, and we should increase the alternate food resources consumption like millets in India. The food fortification industry in India has been steadily growing in response to the country's persistent challenges with malnutrition and nutrient deficiencies. He further concluded that FSSAI mandate continuous fortification of certain staple foods and provide guidelines for industry compliance.

In his welcome address Vivek Chandra, chairman, Food Processing and Value Addition Council, ASSOCHAM and chief executive officer-Global Branded Business, LT Foods conveyed the market growth fortification industry has to offer in terms of increasing consumer awareness about the importance of nutrition and health, and its growing demand for fortified foods in the Indian market. This presents opportunities for food manufacturers to innovate and develop new fortified products to meet consumer needs. Fortification is generally considered a cost-effective approach to improving nutrition compared to other interventions like supplementation or dietary diversification, he mentioned.

Shariqua Yunus, senior program policy officer and head of Unit- Nutrition and School Feeding, World Food Programme in her address mentioned that Fortified foods in India are subject to strict quality control measures to ensure that they meet regulatory standards for nutrient content and safety. This helps build consumer confidence in the efficacy and safety of fortified products. Fortified foods provide essential vitamins and minerals that are often lacking in diets, such as iron, iodine, vitamin A, and folic acid. Regular consumption of fortified foods can help address micronutrient deficiencies and improve overall health.

Tony Senanyake, chief executive officer Fortify Health shared the challenges that are present in the fortification industry and highlighted the need to spread awareness of the right nutrition and micronutrients. Ensuring that fortification processes are carried out properly and consistently across the country can be difficult, especially in remote areas, he said.

A joint knowledge report was unveiled by ASSOCHAM and Nangia Anderson LLP titled "Fortifying India's Future: Significance of Food Fortification and Nutrition'' by the dignitaries at the conference.

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