Over 70% of Indian population still consumes less recommended dietary: SN. Sangma

Shillong, August 26: A state level ‘Sensitization program on food fortification’ was conducted for the food safety officials on 26th August, 2019 at The Habitat Hotel -Asian Confluence. The program was jointly organized by The Commissionerate of Food Safety, Govt. of Meghalaya, KHPT and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).

The purpose of the program was to improve availability of fortified commodities in open market. Mr S. N. Sangma, Joint Commissioner of Food Safety Meghalaya, Shillong, inaugurated the program. The program was attended by the food safety officials from across the state and a team of 3 technical experts from KHPT and GAIN.

During his inaugural address, Mr Sangma stated that Over 70% of Indian population still consumes less than 50% of Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) of Micronutrients. Macronutrient malnutrition continues to remain a serious health problem that demands coordinated and massive efforts.

He also emphasised that the state of Meghalaya is committed to address the prevailing micro-nutrient deficiencies in the state and food fortification is a means to it. He said fortification provides nutritional benefits to the consumers without requiring them to change eating habits or purchase pattern. Meghalaya will follow the footsteps of Government of India through implementation of the Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Food) Regulation, 2018.

Ms. Shakun Sharma, GAIN expert, during the training, shared that India is home to 1/3rd of the world’s 2 billion micronutrient deficient individuals. The country suffers a loss of INR 80,400 crore in its GDP every year. Therefore, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has defined standards for fortification of staple foods: wheat, oil, milk, double fortified salt and rice as mandated in the Regulations.

Ms. Pooja Trivedi, Senior Manager, KHPT,Bangalore discussed about the policy landscape with regard to food fortification in India in detail. Food safety officials were capacitated on the Legal Framework for enforcement of food fortification act August 2018.

Apart from the standards for fortification, the industries need to ensure certain packaging and labelling standards. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has also designed “+F” logo to be mandatorily printed in the packets of fortified commodities, provided they are fortified as per the defined standards.

They were also detailed on the endorsement of fortified brands which the fortifying units need to take up through the existing FSSAI licence.

This is the first sensitization programme on fortification of foods in the state of Meghalaya. The sensitization workshop will be followed by technical trainings to edible oil distributors, milk dairies and wheat (roller) flour mills on 27th, 28th and 29th August, 2019 respectively to build their capacities on fortification.

Wheat flour fortification technology transfer will be done by Central Food Technology Research Institute (CFTRI). All the trainings will include practical demonstrations. KHPT and GAIN will also provide continuous support to these units for adoption of fortification as per policy guidelines.

Directives by Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) mandate use of fortified edible oil, wheat flour and double fortified salt in MDM and ICDS programs respectively. However, non- availability of these commodities in market is perhaps affecting the implementation by concerned departments of the mandate in the state.

With this initiative of the Commissionerate of Food Safety, Meghalaya, not just general public, but government programs too will be able to access fortified staples to successfully implement GOI directives.

 

 

 

 

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