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Food is an integral part of our life and is necessary for human survival. Hence, food safety is of utmost priority for any country. Since India is an agricultural dependent economy, the food industry holds a significant importance. In order to monitor the laws relating to food, the Government of India enacted the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. Finally, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), on August 02, 2018 has made the Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2018 which have been notified in the Gazette of India.
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Fortification means purposely increasing the
content of essential micronutrients in a food as to improve the nutritional
quality of food and to provide public health benefit with minimal risk to
Also, food fortification is a scientifically proven, cost-effective, scalable and sustainable global intervention that addresses the issue of micronutrient deficiencies.
Micro-nutrient deficiencies affect not only the
poor. Less obvious but nonetheless important are the effects of today’s
lifestyles in the developed world on nutritional status. There are increased
food choices, yes, but low micro-nutrient densities. The hectic pace of life
can lead to inadequacies in the diet, so that even in well-endowed societies
people are increasingly looking to fortified foods to make up the deficiencies.
Fortification is voluntary. However, if any staple claims to be fortified, the standards as notified have to be followed. Besides, the intent is to ensure that the interest of the consumer is protected and the +F logo can only be used if the staple is fortified as per the regulations.
The ‘+F’ logo has been notified to identify fortified foods. Scientific Health Claims for label declaration of fortified foods approved by the Scientific Panel on Nutrition and Fortification were also released. With the regulations being notified in the Gazette of India, FSSAI has firmly placed food fortification on the national agenda. Hence, this thas created an enabling environment and encouraged food businesses to adopt food fortification.
Moreover, 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.
With increasing awareness of the efficacy of food fortification, many countries have initiated large-scale trials and projects to facilitate widespread fortification of staple foods, including oil. International organizations such as UNICEF, WHO and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation too have recognised food fortification the priority and potential of food fortification in helping meet nutrition goals across the world. Twenty-seven countries, moreover, have already mandated oil fortification, according to the Food Fortification Initiative.
Read our article:How to Start a Catering Business in India
Mr. Neelansh Gupta is a Legal Counsel having extensive in-depth knowledge of various laws. He has completed his graduation in law and has experience in IPR, Taxation and Corporate laws.
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