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Fortification of Rice

Fortification of rice with vitamins and Minerals (Iron, Folic Acid & Vitamin B12)

Fortification Of Rice:

Fortification of rice makes it more nutritious by adding vitamins and minerals, many of which are lost during the milling and polishing process.

Fortification is the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, i.e. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in a food, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health.

Rice is cultivated in many parts of the world, as it grows in diverse climates. Industrial fortification of rice with vitamins and minerals has been practised for many years in several countries throughout the world, where rice is a staple consumed regularly in the preparation of many common local dishes. Micronutrient deficiencies of public health significance are widespread in most countries consuming high levels of rice; thus rice fortification has the potential to help aid vulnerable populations that are currently not reached by wheat or maize flour fortification programmes. However, rice production is often done domestically or locally which could make reaching all those in need with mass fortification programs challenging.

Rice can be fortified by adding a micronutrient powder to the rice that adheres to the grains. Rice can also be extruded and shaped into partially precooked grain-like structures resembling rice grains, which can then be blended with natural polished rice. Rice kernels can be fortified with several micronutrients, such as iron, folic acid, Vitamin B12 and other B-complex vitamins, vitamin A and zinc.

Extrusion is the preferred technology for rice fortification because of the stability of micronutrients in the rice kernels across processing, storage, washing, cooking, and in view of cost considerations.

WHO recommendations

Fortification of rice with iron is recommended as a public health strategy to improve the iron status of populations, in settings where rice is a staple food.

Fortification of rice with vitamin A may be used as a public health strategy to improve the iron status and vitamin A nutrition of populations.

Fortification of rice with folic acid may be used as a public health strategy to improve the folate nutritional status of populations.

FSSAI recommendations

Fortified Rice Kernels (FRK) produced using extrusion technology are made with rice flour and micronutrients such as iron, folic acid, Vitamin B12 as mandatory and zinc, vitamin A, thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), and pyridoxine (vitamin B6) as optional micronutrients.

FRK

Rice flour is pulverized and mixed with a premix containing vitamins and minerals. Fortified Rice Kernels are produced from this mixture using an extruder machine. Fortified Rice Kernels resemble milled rice in size, shape, and colour but contain additional vitamins and minerals that retain their micronutrient content when washed and boiled in water. When these kernels are blended with non-fortified rice,
typically at a ratio of 1:100, the result is Fortified Rice that is nearly identical to non-fortified rice in aroma, taste, and texture. It is then distributed for regular consumption.

Manufacturing process: blended fortified rice

What is Fortified Rice Kernel (FRK)?

Fortified Rice Kernel (FRK) is a reconstituted rice grain made from rice flour, vitamins, and minerals using hot extrusion technology. This process is relatively simple and comprises the following five steps:
1. Mixing of raw material
2. Passing raw material through the extrusion process
3. Drying of the finished product
4. Storage
5. Packaging

Process of rice fortification

The major step for producing Fortified Rice include:
1. Sourcing/ Producing of Fortified Rice Kernels (FRK)
2. Blending FRK with 50 to 200 parts (generally 1:100) of raw milled rice polished raw or parboiled rice.
3. Quality assurance and control
4. Packaging

Major ingredients include:
i. Rice Flour
ii. Food Grade Vitamin and Mineral Premix per FSSAI guidelines
iii. FSSAI approved Acid regulators and emulsifiers (Pentasodium Triphosphate – INS 451 (i), Citric Acid INS 330 etc.)
iv. Potable Water (IS 10500 : 2012)

Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs)

GMPs are the procedures that should be followed from plant set-up until final product dispatch to assure food wholesomeness. GMP refers to the minimum sanitary and processing conditions required in a properly built processing plant. GMP includes cleanliness and sanitary requirements for personnel, building and facilities, and equipment and utensils, in addition to food-processing requirements and controls.

Quality Assurance and Quality Control
Fortified rice should be regularly checked at a defined frequency and should be inspected at all levels. To ensure the quality of the fortified rice, controls need to be applied at various levels. It is also imperative to inspect the quality of the fortified rice throughout the supply chain.

1. Quality management of the FRK
2. Food Safety and Quality Management at the mill
3. External testing – Lab empanelment

shelf life: The FRK produced should have a shelf life of a minimum of 12 months.

Rice fortification has the potential to have a wide impact, as it is a staple food for 65% of the Indian population, reaching the most vulnerable and poorest sections of the country. It has the highest offtake in the Government safety net programs such as the Public Distribution System (PDS), the Mid-Day Meal program (MDM), the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) program with the potential to reach 800 million vulnerable people in India, especially women and children. The Government of India has included food fortification, including rice fortification, under the National Nutrition Mission (Poshan Abhiyan) as a complementary intervention to reduce the prevalence of anaemia and malnutrition in India.

Sources:

  1. Department of Food & Public Distribution, Govt of India.
  2. WHO
  3. FSSAI