Oil fortification or enrichment is a process of adding micronutrients to edible oil so as to increase its nutritional value. It can be agreed out by food manufacturers and governments as a public health policy and such a fortification is expected to reach almost 99% of the Indian population with dietary deficiencies so as to benefit them with the same.
Fortification of such edible oil with vitamin A, D normally happens just before the packaging of oil. The pre-mix vitamin and the processed oil both are added and stir up to ensure uniform blending. The conception, technology and quality organize procedures for Fortification of edible oil recognized for sustained production across worldwide.
Importance of Fortification of Edible Oil with Vitamin A, D
India has a very high rate of malnutrition people, including people having micronutrient deficiencies. A massive population of our country has been suffering from deficit of vitamin A and D. Due to lack of these vitamins in our body it causes a negative impact on health, morbidity, mortality, efficiency and economic growth. Vitamin A and D also make our immune system stronger which makes it need of the time in this critical situation with the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
Shri Arun Singhal the CEO of FSSAI stated that FSSAI is taking into consideration to make fortification of edible oil with vitamin A and D mandatory. The purpose is to promote better immunity to the people of India and safeguard food safety and good health.
This will also guarantee the people from different socioeconomic strata to have easy reach to the available fortified edible oil across the country. He also said that Food Fortification Resource Centre (FFRC) within FSSAI will provide required technical support to further the oil industries for enabling the fortification of edible oil.
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What are the Health Benefits of Fortification of Edible Oil with Vitamin A and D?
The reason for fortification of edible oil with vitamin A and D is the various health benefits these vitamins offer. Few of them are given below, which are as follows:-
- Healthy for good vision, skin, tissues and bones
- It fights cell damage and repairs cell
- Works as antioxidant in the body
- Helps the growth and repair of skin
- Teeth formation and maintenance
- Decrease the risk of chronic disease and cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc
- It regulates the phosphate and calcium amount in the body.
- Healthy bones, teeth and muscles.
- It helps to normalise immune system function
- Regulator of mood and prevents depression.
What is the Need of Fortification of Edible Oil according to FSSAI?
Few of the reasons due to which it became necessary for FSSAI to consider fortification of edible oil with Vitamin A,D are given below, which are as follows:-
- In India, the prevalence of malnutrition is due to the economic, geographic, and other socio-religious factors which affect the huge populations.
- Consuming substandard quality of micronutrients becomes a serious problem as the human body cannot itself synthesise some nutrients like vitamin A.
- Thus, it is reliant upon food sources that are rich in pre-formed vitamin A (carrots, fish, pumpkins etc).
- These food products are not easily affordable or accessible by the economically weaker sectors of the population. Therefore, fortification of edible oil can supply their body with these nutrients.
- Fortification will act like a complementary solution to supplementation and dietary diversification strategies.
- As defined by WHO as consciously increasing the content of an necessary micronutrient i.e. vitamins or minerals in a food to advance the nutritional quality of the food supply and give a benefit to public health with minimum risk of disease.
Fortification of Edible Oil: A Practicable Means to Address Micronutrient Deficiency
Vitamin A being an oily vitamin goes very well with edible oil. In view of that, edible oils have always emerged as a major contender for viable fortification of vitamin A. The consumption of edible oils in India ranges from 12 to 18 kg per annum per person leading to rising up of the total demand of edible oil.
Oil fortification with these vitamins can cause the process of addition of micronutrients to edible oil, thereby, increasing its nutritional value and due to the widespread use of cooking oil it will reach maximum of the population. Various kinds of edible oils like soybean, mustard, cotton seed, groundnut, etc. can be fortified.
According to FSSAI, fortified oil can help a person at an individual level to meet 25-30% of the suggested dietary intake for vitamins A and D. The exterior appearance, flavour, texture, and shelf life of the edible oils shall remain unaltered by the fortification process.
Fortification of edible oil can have its reach even to the economically vulnerable sectors of the society and facilitate them in achieving the necessary nutrition levels. Also because edible oils are a key focus area of government foods supply schemes it will act as a saviour for malnutrition people. Iodised salt is one of the biggest serving examples of fortification which has proved to be nutritious and healthy for human consumption.
Food fortification has always proved to be an efficient supplement for promoting nutrition needs of a population. Therefore, FSSAI has come up with considering fortification of edible oil with Vitamin A and D. The success of earlier fortification programs has proved that a properly planned scheme to fortify the common foods such as edible oils can effectively help to fight malnutrition in the country.
Fats and oils are very energy dense macronutrients and provide the body with a concentrated source of energy. Therefore, edible oils are good solvents and are natural sources of these vitamins considering public health requirements.
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