FSSAI to soon come up with regulations to fortify processed foods: Director, FSSAI

Inoshi Sharma, Director, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) said that an overview of the food safety is need of the hour and the Authority  is soon coming up with regulations, whereby cereals, bakery products and others  can also be fortified.

Speaking at a webinar on Tackling the Impact of COVID-19 on Micronutrient Deficiencies through Food Fortification, organized by FICCI in collaboration with World Food Programme (WFP) and DSM India,  Sharma said, “As of now, five staples-salt, oil, milk, flour and rice are being fortified. The FSSAI in the process of passing a regulation for processed foods and the industry would be happy to know that very soon we would be coming up with regulations, whereby cereals, bakery products, buns, breads, biscuits, pasta, noodles, etc., commodities consumed by the people for which wheat or rice is used as a base for creating, can also be fortified. The need for research is very important and we need to figure out how we can adopt the process of fortification effectively.”  

It is time for the industry to come forward and promote fortification with +F brand products and spread consumer awareness. “The only condition we have put for processed food is that they should not be HFSS- high in fat, salt and sugar. If they do not fall in this category, all other processed food can be fortified,” she added.   

 Maaike Bruins, Lead Scientist F&B/NI NSA Global, DSM said that the COVID pandemic has been undermining nutrition across the world, especially in the low-income and middle-income countries and has aggravated malnutrition across these countries. “This is an opportunity for fortified staple foods such as rice or wheat flour to be included in the food-based safety net as part of COVID-19 response. Integrating fortified foods as part of safety nets in COVID-19 response can support resilience among most vulnerable of population,” she added. 

Shariqua Yunus, Nutrition Specialist, World Food Programme, said, “Food fortification is an intervention that hasn’t been tried consistently or at scale apart from a few pilot efforts in the past few years.”  

Rajesh Kumar Sahetiya, Senior Business Director, South Asia, DSM Nutritional Products, said, “We need to provide access to safe, healthy and affordable nutritional solutions, which can optimize nutritional levels of all communities.”