Assocham Bulletin - - INDUSTRY -

AJex food reg­u­la­tor, the Food Safety and tan­dards Author­ity of In­dia (FSSAI) is work­ing with the in­dus­try to un­der­stand the chal­lenges be­ing faced in pro­mot­ing for­ti­fi­ca­tion of wheat flour, rice and dou­ble for­ti­fi­ca­tion of salt, in­formed Mr. Paw an Ku­mar Agar­wal, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, FSSAI.

For­ti­fi­ca­tion is the process of adding vi­ta­mins and min­er­als to foods to prevent nu­tri­tional de­fi­cien­cies. The nu­tri­ents reg­u­lar­lyused in grain for­ti­fi­ca­tion prevent dis­eases, strengthen im­mune sys­tems, and im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity and cog­ni­tive de­vel­op­ment. It makes sta­ple foods more nu­tri­tious.

"We have re­ce­vied fairly good amount of suc­cess in get­ting the free-mar­ke­tavail­abil­i­ty­of­for­ti­fied oil and milk but in case of wheat flour, rice and dou­ble for­ti­fi­ca­tion of salts, the progress has been slow," said Mr. Agar­wal while ad­dress­ing the AS­SOCHAM con­fer­enceon 'Nu­tri­tion and Food Se­cu­rity'.

"We are work­ing on it, we are work­ing with the food in­dus­try to nudge them, per­suade them to un­der­stand what are the chal­lenges­they are fac­ing," added Mr. Agar­wal.

He fur­ther said that the FSSAIis al­sotry­ing to fig­ure out reg­u­la­tory con­cerns the in­dus­try might have as they go in for for­ti­fi­ca­tion.

"Ob­vi­ously when we go-in for for­ti­fi­ca­tion as per stan­dards, we have to be mon­i­tor­ing an eval­u­a­tion of whether we are get­ting the re­sults; so for do­ing all of it we have es­tab­lished Food For­ti­fi­ca­tionRe­sourceCen­tre­with the sup­port ofTata Trust at FSSAI and we have a ded­i­cated team work­ing to pro­mote large-scale for­ti­fi­ca­tion of th­ese five sta­ples

in the coun­try," fur­ther in­formed Mr. Agar­wal.

He also con­ceded that de­spite gov­ern­ment pol­icy for for­ti­fi­ca­tion, the progress has been some­what lim­ited, ex­cept a few ar­eas where ex­cel­lence has been achieved largely based on ini­tia­tives of in­di­vid­ual of­fi­cers who have felt and recog­nised the need for for­ti­fied sta­ples to reach out the ben­e­fit of for­ti­fi­ca­tion to the poor­est of the poor. "But by and large there had been a luke­warm re­sponse to it."

He also said, "In last one year we­have made sig­nif­i­cant­progress in terms of stan­dards, giv­ing some struc­ture to the space, but go­ing around the coun­try, we still feel that whole idea of so­cial­i­sa­tion of the im­por­tance of­food for­ti­fi­ca­tion amongst key stake­hold­ers in the states is still not com­plete."

"Merely is­su­ing or­ders and no­ti­fi­ca­tions from Gov­ern­ment of In­dia will not suf­fice, state gov­ern­ments in many cases re­quire hand-hold­ing sup­port in or­der to first be sen­si­tised about ben­e­fits of for­ti­fi­ca­tion and then pro­cure, for­ti­fied sta­ples," added Mr. Agar­wal.

He also said that when it comes to achiev­ing food for­ti­fi­ca­tion of five sta­ples across In­dia, there is a long way to go as there are many chal­lenges to make it hap­pen.

He said that he had seen many re­ports from the states whereby state of­fi­cials re­mained con­fused as to whether or not this is re­quired to be done, clar­ity in terms of how it is to be done is not there in most states.

"In many of th­ese pro­grams, par­tic­u­larly where you are de­pend­ing on lo­cal ini­tia­tives at the state gov­ern­ment level are not easy to im­ple­ment and they take their own time," he added.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.