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India Revises Food Fortification Regulation

Photo: Milk
Photo: Milk

On May 19, 2017, the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FFSAI) revised a draft regulation related to fortified food products including salt, vanaspati, wheat flour (Atta), vegetable oil, milk, refined wheat flour (Maida), and fortified rice. This regulation entered into force on April 17, 2017.

Micronutrients are dietary components, often referred to vitamins and minerals. The human body requires these components in small amounts for growth, metabolism and the normal functioning of the immune system. Deficiencies of micronutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, iron, iodine, and zinc affect malnutrition and chronic diseases in pregnant, lactating women and young children.

To control and prevent these deficiencies, several strategies have been employed by implementing public education and dietary modification, as well as food supplementation and fortification. Food fortification is the most attractive strategy to combat micronutrient deficiencies because it can reach wider at-risk population groups without requiring major changes in existing consumption patterns, at low cost, and in a relatively short space of time. Currently, food fortification is endorsed and supported by governments as well as by international agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the United Nations Children Fund. Staple foods including salt, flour, oil, rice and sugar are the main vehicles chosen for this application. As per a recent WHO report, India has a high malnutrition rate. The Indian government has acknowledged this and set requirements for the fortification of staple foods. Following publication of a draft regulation in October 2016 [1], which failed to include mention of a product known as ‘standardized milk’ the text was updated and a new version of the regulation published on 19 May 2017 [2], see more details in the table below.

Indian Standard for Fortified Foods

MicronutrientsFood commodityLevel of micronutrients
IodineSaltManufacture level: Not less than 30 mg/kg dry basis
  Distribution channel: Not less than 15 mg/kg dry basis
Iron content (as Fe)Salt850-1100 mg/kg
Ferric saltAtta, Maida, rice≥ 20 mg/kg
Ferrous saltMaida≥ 60 mg/kg
ZincAtta, Maida, rice≥ 30 mg/kg
Vitamin AMilk
(Standardized, toned*, double toned or skimmed milk)
≥ 770 IU/L

Vegetable oil≥ 25 IU/g

Atta, Maida, rice≥ 1500 μg/kg
Synthetic vitamin AVanaspatiAt the time of packing: not less than 25 IU/g
Vitamin DMilk
(Standardized, toned*, double toned or skimmed milk)
≥ 550 IU/L

Vegetable oil≥ 4.5 IU/g
Folic acidAtta, Maida, rice≥ 1300 μg/kg
NiacinAtta, Maida, rice≥ 42 mg/kg
Vitamin B1Atta, Maida, rice≥ 3.5 mg/kg
Vitamin B2Atta, Maida, rice≥ 4 mg/kg
Vitamin B6Atta, Maida, rice≥ 5 mg/kg
Vitamin B12Atta, Maida, rice≥ 10 μg/kg

* Toned milk – refers to a product that is a combination of buffalo milk, milk powder and water to create a particular composition.

What do the changes mean?

This update has the potential to affect food manufacturers. Fortified food destined for India must contain micronutrients at the minimum levels described in the country’s food fortification regulation. Complying with food regulations is complex, food producers should seek professional advice.

SGS is committed to keeping you informed of regulatory news and developments. Leveraging our global network of laboratories and food experts, SGS provides a comprehensive range of food safety and quality solutions, including analytical tests, audits, certifications, inspections and technical support. We continually invest in our testing, capability, and state-of-the art technology to help you reduce risk, improve food safety and quality. For more information, please visit our website: www.foodsafety.sgs.com.

Email SGS Hong Kong Ltd. at mktg@sgs.com for enquiry or visit www.sgsgroup.com/hk.

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