Children in anganwadi centres and government hostels across Telangana would soon be provided fortified food. Besides, the State’s Food Safety Division is coordinating with Civil Supplies department to fortify PDS rice which is distributed to the less privileged.
This announcement was made by K Shankar, director, office of the Commissioner of Food Safety, at a press conference here on Wednesday.
Fortified food is one that is enriched with nutrients like vitamins or minerals that do not naturally occur in the food. Providing it to children would help improve their health.
Senior officials of the Food Safety Division said the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) would soon announce an Act making it mandatory for manufacturers to fortify staple food products such as milk, oil, rice and wheat.
Before it is implemented, the officials have taken on the task of explaining the process to food manufacturers and the negligible cost involved. Staff of the Food Safety Division are also being trained in the fortfication process.
Gururaj Patil, team lead of Fortification at Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT), said a deficiency of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) has consequences on society, and that physical and mental growth of children are affected.
“If they are not able to learn well, their education will be affected. As adults, their employability goes down. Health-related complications aggravate which means a lot of spending, and that’s how a vicious cycle is created,” Mr Gururaj said, adding that it is imperative for a ‘young’ nation to be healthy.