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FSSAI constitutes Panel on Food Fortification and Nutrition

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has constituted a Panel on Food Fortification and Nutrition to identify critical nutritional gaps in the Indian diet in general and also in specific target groups.

The 11 member panel will frame final regulations on fortification of foods and prepare strategies to address malnutrition problem.

Key Facts
  • The Panel will identify critical nutritional gaps in the Indian diet in general and also in specific target groups based on credible scientific evidence and diet surveys.
  • It will review the standards required for all suitable food fortifying vehicles in addition to healthy dietary intake of sugar, fat and salt.
  • It will define strategies to address nutritional needs of general population and vulnerable groups.
  • It will also address regulatory and related technological issues, review proposals from industry using modern risk assessment methods.
  • It will also prescribe standard test and sampling methods for effective surveillance, monitoring and enforcement of the relevant regulations.
What is Food fortification?

Food fortification is the process of adding micronutrients i.e. essential trace elements and vitamins into the food. It is an integrated approach to prevent micronutrient deficiencies and complements other approaches to improve health and nutrition. This enrichment process has proven as an effective strategy to meet the nutritional needs of a large number of people across various sections of the society, including the poor and underprivileged, pregnant women and young children.

What are advantages of Food fortification?

Food fortification does not require changes in existing food habits and patterns nor individual compliance. It does not alter characteristics of food and is socio-culturally acceptable. It can be introduced quickly and can produce nutritional benefits and improve health of people in a short period of time. It also safe and cost effective.

About FSSAI

FSSAI is a nodal statutory agency responsible for protecting and promoting public health in India through the regulation and supervision of food safety. FSSAI was established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and operates under aegis of Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

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FSSAI bans use of newspapers for packing food

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has banned use of newspapers for wrapping and packing of food items.

In this regard, FSSAI has issued an advisory all states and Union territories and asked commissioners of food safety to restrict the use of newspapers for packing, serving and storing of food items.

This is first time in recent years FSSAI has issued new rule related to packaging of food items. So far, it had focused on setting standards for packaged food.

Why this ban has been imposed?
  • In India, use of newspapers for wrapping and packing of food items is a common practice followed by small corner shops and street vendors.
  • However, it can cause serious health concerns due contaminate food items by newspaper ink.
  • Printing ink used for printing newspapers may contain bioactive materials, harmful pigments, colours, additives, binders, preservatives, chemical contaminants and even pathogenic microorganisms that may pose potential risk to human health.
  • Even newspaper or cardboard boxes made of recycled paper may be contaminated with mineral oils, metallic contaminants and harmful chemicals like phthalates which can cause digestive problems and also lead to severe toxicity.
  • Older people, teenagers, children and people with compromised vital organs and immune systems are at a greater risk of acquiring cancer-related health complications after they are exposed to food items packed in such materials

FSSAI: It is a nodal statutory agency responsible for protecting and promoting public health in India through the regulation and supervision of food safety. It was established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. It functions under aegis of Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

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National Summit on Fortification of Food inaugurated in New Delhi

The National Summit on Fortification of Food was recently inaugurated in New Delhi to address interventions in combating micronutrient malnutrition in the country.

The two day summit was co-hosted by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in partnership with related central ministries/departments and development partners.

The Summit had brought together experts from nutrition and development communities as well as representatives from state governments, technical supporters, academics and donors to beneficiaries.

What is Food fortification?

  • Food fortification or enrichment is the process of adding micronutrients i.e. essential trace elements and vitamins into the food.
  • It is an integrated approach to prevent micronutrient deficiencies and complements other approaches to improve health and nutrition.
  • Food fortification does not require changes in existing food habits and patterns nor individual compliance. It does not alter characteristics of food and is socio-culturally acceptable.
  • It can be introduced quickly and can produce nutritional benefits and improve health of people in a short period of time. It also safe and cost effective.
  • This enrichment process has proven as an effective strategy to meet the nutritional needs of a large number of people across various sections of the society, including the poor and underprivileged, pregnant women and young children.

What is present status of food fortification in India?

  • The FSSAI has formulated a ‘Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2016’, a comprehensive regulation on fortification of foods in the country.
  • These regulations set standard guidelines for food fortification and encourage the production, manufacture, distribution, sale and consumption of fortified foods.
  • They also assign specific role of FSSAI in promotion for food fortification and to make fortification mandatory.

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