Mumbai: In a first of its kind, the Food Safety And Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) has introduced +F logo for fortified staple food products such as rice, wheat, oil and milk which will help people to identified which food products are rich in nutrients.
As per the National Family Health Survey, almost 50 per cent of the women and children in India suffer from anemia. “In India, so many people suffer from anemia and malnutrition. These fortified products help to increase nutrition among people. This logo is introduced to help buyers such products that are rich with nutrition,” said the officer.
The official added as specified on the official website of FSSAI, 58.4 per cent of children (6-59 months), 53.1 per cent women in the reproductive age group suffer from anemia and 35.7 percent of children under the age of 5-year-old are underweight. A senior official said they have also instructed the manufacturer’s to imprint the logo on these products to ensure that the most vulnerable sections of the society receive appropriate and timely nutrition.
“As per the Schedule II of Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2017, it has been made manufacturers and packers to carry the logo for fortified products. If the instruction is not followed then the it will be termed under the misbranded category and have to face legal action,” said a senior officer from FSSAI, Maharashtra.
According to the circular issued by FSSAI, it should also carry the statement- ‘Sampoorna Poshan Swastha Jeevan’ on the packet though it is not compulsory. FSSAI has also operationalized draft regulations on fortification of food articles that include standards for fortification of food staples – oil, milk, double fortified salt, wheat flour and rice.
The manufacturer and packers to procure the logo need to apply to FSSAI online as per Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2016, and wish to use fortification logo on their packs. After submission of the information, verification process would be conducted by FSSAI. Once verified, the logo in an open file format will be provided to the applicant.
Benefits of 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 population.
The nutrients added are small and well under the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) and are 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 does not alter the characteristics of the food like the taste, aroma or the texture of the food.