Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam – 04 November 2020

In Today’s News:

  1. Fortification of Rice- a complete overview.
    1. Rice Fortification
    2. WHO’s Recommendations
    3. Fortified food in India
    4. Importance of Fortification
    5. Benefits of Fortification

1. Fortification of Rice-a complete overview

(Note: If any question related to Fortification is asked in the exam, you may follow the same kind of flow in the exam)

News Summary

Anganwadis and Government schools will soon be receiving fortified rice as per the statement by the Food Ministry. The government is planning to distribute fortified rice to combat chronic anaemia and undernutrition through the Integrated Child Development Services and Mid-Day Meal schemes across the country from next year, with a special focus on 112 aspirational districts.

Prelims GS – Agriculture/Governance(Health)

Rice Fortification:
  • Fortification is the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, i.e. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in food, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health.
  • Rice can be fortified by adding a micronutrient powder to the rice that adheres to the grains or spraying the surface of ordinary rice grains in several layers with a vitamin and mineral mix to form a protective coating.
  • Rice can also be extruded and shaped into partially precooked grain-like structures resembling rice grains, which can then be blended with natural polished rice.
  • Rice kernels can be fortified with several micronutrients, such as iron, folic acid, and other B-complex vitamins, vitamin A and zinc.
Recommendations of WHO for Rice Fortification:
  • Fortification of rice with iron is recommended as a public health strategy to improve the iron status of populations, in settings where rice is a staple food.
  • Fortification of rice with vitamin A may be used as a public health strategy to improve the iron status and vitamin A nutrition of populations.
  • Fortification of rice with folic acid may be used as a public health strategy to improve the folate nutritional status of populations.
Fortified Food in India:
  • In October 2016, FSSAI operationalized the Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2016 for fortifying staples namely
    • Wheat Flour and Rice (with Iron, Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid),
    • Milk and Edible Oil (with Vitamins A and D) and
    • Double Fortified Salt (with Iodine and Iron) to reduce the high burden of micronutrient malnutrition in India.
  • The ‘+F’ logo has been notified to identify fortified foods.

Mini Insights

Mains GS2 – Governance(Health)

Importance of Fortification:
  • India has a very high burden of micronutrient deficiencies caused by Vitamin A, Iodine, Iron, and Folic Acid leading to Night Blindness, Goitre, Anaemia, and various birth defects. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4)
    • 58.4 percent of children (6-59 months) are anaemic

    • 53.1 percent of women in the reproductive age group are anaemic

    • 35.7 percent of children under 5 are underweight

  • Fortification is a globally proven intervention to address the much prevalent micronutrient deficiencies in the population.
  • Food Fortification has a high benefit-to-cost ratio.
  • The Copenhagen Consensus estimates that every 1 Rupee spent on fortification results in 9 Rupees in benefits to the economy.
Benefits of Food Fortification:
  • Nutrients are added to staple foods since they are widely consumed. Thus, this is an excellent method to improve the health of a large section of the population, all at once.
  • It is a safe method of improving nutrition among people. The addition of micronutrients to food does not pose a health risk to people. The quantity added is small and well under the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) and is well regulated as per prescribed standards for safe consumption.
  • It is a cost-effective intervention and does not require any changes in eating patterns or food habits of people.
  • It is a socio-culturally acceptable way to deliver nutrients to people.
  • It does not alter the characteristics of the food like the taste, aroma, or texture of the food.

Click here to know more about Fortified food.


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