Sep 7, 2018
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, CEO, Pawan Agarwal has urged the private and public dairy companies to begin voluntary milk fortification as it is the most cost-effective and globally-recognised strategy to address micro-nutrient deficiencies.
He informed that most of the stakeholders were in favour of food fortification but a few misinformed elements have been creating confusion around the issue. So it the food regulators duty to ensure it does not get derailed due to misinformation or lack of awareness.
Last month, FSSAI notified standards for fortifying staples such as edible oil, milk, atta, maida and salt. The food safety authority has been urging industry to undertake voluntary fortification of their products especially edible oil and milk, before it is made mandatory.
Agrawal highlighted that several ministries and government bodies have written to FSSAI to make fortification mandatory. However, FSSAI wants to first assess whether the industry is ready. Fortification needs to be scaled up step-by-step before being made mandatory.
Talking about costs involved in fortification, Agrawal said he said, “Costs of fortification in the case of milk with Vitamin A and D is minimal, about 2-3 paise per litre, and players such as Mother Dairy who have undertaken large scale milk fortification have absorbed such costs.”
He also said as per FSSAI regulations, premixes used for fortification need to be manufactured from vegetarian sources, and not from animal sources. He said the prescribed dosage of the premix used in fortified staples is within safe limits and the focus is on ensuring the safety of the fortified food products rather than whether they are natural or synthetic. Currently 13 state co-operatives and 11 private dairies have begun offering fortified milk to consumers.