Vi­ta­min D in Milk

Consumer Voice - - Project In Focus -

In the early 20th cen­tury, rick­ets (soft bones and skele­tal mal­for­ma­tion from in­com­plete bone growth) was com­mon among un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren liv­ing in in­dus­tri­al­ized cities. In­ad­e­quate diet, poor hy­giene, and lack of ex­er­cise were among the fac­tors be­lieved to play a role in the for­ma­tion of this dis­ease. The re­la­tion­ship be­tween diet and rick­ets was not clearly un­der­stood un­til an English physi­cian con­ducted the first ex­per­i­men­tal study on rick­ets with dogs. His ob­ser­va­tions of spe­cific ‘anti-rachitic’ fac­tors found in cod liver oil, but­ter and whole milk even­tu­ally led to the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, pu­rifi­ca­tion and syn­the­sis of vi­ta­min D. Sub­se­quently, the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FDA) es­tab­lished a stan­dard of iden­tity (SOI) for milk which in­cluded the op­tional ad­di­tion of vi­ta­mins A and D. To­day, the ma­jor­ity of our milk is for­ti­fied with vi­ta­min D. How­ever, ad­di­tional food sources of vi­ta­min D are lim­ited, so ob­tain­ing vi­ta­min D solely through di­etary sources can be chal­leng­ing and many peo­ple fall short of their daily re­quire­ments for vi­ta­min D. Nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring sources are also lim­ited mostly to oily fish and cod liver oil. Be­sides milk, se­lect foods such as ce­re­als and or­ange juice may be for­ti­fied with vi­ta­min D. Sup­ple­ments may also be nec­es­sary and are read­ily avail­able. Be­cause cer­tain brands rather than all items within a food cat­e­gory may be for­ti­fied, it may be help­ful to check the nu­tri­tion facts on food pack­ets.

f) ICDS pro­grammes in West Ben­gal, Gu­jarat, Andhra Pradesh and Bi­har are pro­vid­ing can­dies for­ti­fied with vi­ta­min A, iron, folic acid and vi­ta­min C to chil­dren aged 2–6 years as well as preg­nant and lac­tat­ing women.

g) The gov­ern­ment of West Ben­gal has been dis­tribut­ing sa­chets of mul­ti­ple mi­cronu­tri­ent pow­der or sprin­kles to the moth­ers of chil­dren be­low two years of age at ICDS cen­tres. The sup­ple­ments are ad­min­is­tered with any kind of food given to the chil­dren.

Ex­pe­ri­ence has shown that when a leader in the food in­dus­try takes the first step by for­ti­fy­ing food on a vol­un­tary ba­sis, it can re­sult in many other food com­pa­nies fol­low­ing suit. This vol­un­tary for­ti­fi­ca­tion of foods by the in­dus­try also gives con­fi­dence to gov­ern­ments to con­sider making the process of cer­tain food prod­ucts manda­tory. In many coun­tries, in­clud­ing In­dia, for­ward-think­ing food com­pa­nies have started for­ti­fi­ca­tion vol­un­tar­ily and have a good record of suc­cess. What claims is a com­pany al­lowed to make to mar­ket their for­ti­fied foods Com­pa­nies can state that their prod­uct is for­ti­fied or en­riched with vi­ta­mins and min­er­als and they can in­di­cate the lev­els of added mi­cronu­tri­ents. In In­dia, Food Safety and Stan­dards Author­ity of In­dia (FSSAI) has laid down science-based stan­dards for ar­ti­cles of food and is­sued reg­u­la­tions to reg­u­late their man­u­fac­ture, stor­age, dis­tri­bu­tion, sale and im­port, to en­sure avail­abil­ity of safe and whole­some food for hu­man consumption and for mat­ters con­nected there­with or in­ci­den­tal thereto. Th­ese can be viewed at

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