Fortification is the addition of key vitamins and minerals such as Iron, Iodine, Zinc, Vitamins A & D to staple foods such as rice, wheat, oil, milk and salt to improve their nutritional content. These nutrients may or may not have been originally present in the food before processing or may have been lost during processing.
Deficiency of micronutrients or micronutrient malnutrition, also known as ?hidden hunger?, is a serious health risk. Access to safe and nutritious food is a must and sometimes due to lack of consumption of a balanced diet, lack variety in the diet or unavailability of foodone does not get adequate micronutrients. Often, there is considerable loss of nutrients during the processing of food as well. One of the strategies to address this problem is fortification of food. This method complements other ways to improve nutrition such as such as diversification of diet and supplementation of food.
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
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. It requires an initial investment to purchase both the equipment and the vitamin and mineral premix, but the overall costs of fortification are extremely low. Even when all program costs are passed on to consumers, the price increase is approximately by 1-2%, which is less than the normal price variation. Following are the various benefits of fortification of foods: