National

Mid-day meal fortification being examined in Rajasthan

The Congress government in Rajasthan is considering expansion of the food fortification project to cover mid-day meals distributed in schools and Anganwadi centres to provide micronutrients to children in view of the high rate of stunted growth. Against the national average of 37.9% children under five years having stunted growth, the figure in the State is 39.1%.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who discussed the steps for food security and measures to check adulteration with Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) chairperson Rita Teaotia here last week, said the fortification of mid-day meals would help tackle malnutrition among children. Food fortification has been executed through the public distribution system for common citizens, women and children.

The project being implemented in the State has covered wheat flour, soya dal analogue, oil and milk to provide micronutrients to vulnerable sections of population, while new strategies are being formulated to widen its scope and reach out to more people.

Mr. Gehlot said the State Secretariat and other offices and institutions would be converted into “eat right campuses” to achieve better results of the food security drive. Besides, new campaigns will be launched to make the people aware of the effects of food adulteration and ensure the availability of safe food products.

Rajasthan has been described as a model State where the edible oil and dairy industries have achieved distinction in fortification of their products. About 6 crore people in the State are consuming fortified oil produced by over 100 industries.

Ms. Teaotia said she had inspected the State's food security laboratory and found it complying with the international standards. She said the FSSAI would assist the State government in its drive for ensuring food security.

Activists working in the field of food security have laid emphasis on strengthening the regulatory mechanism to ensure the quality and safety of fortified foods and recommended a mandatory fortification of oil and milk with vitamins A and D. As the micronutrient deficiency is prevalent in all age and socio-economic groups, the rights bodies have urged the State government to specifically address the issues of child stunting and wasting.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 10:05:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mid-day-meal-fortification-being-examined-in-rajasthan/article30628913.ece

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