Malnutrition is one of the major issues concerning the world population, particularly in developing countries. It accounts for an estimated one-third of childhood deaths. Most adults too are deprived of a balanced diet with a good variety of food items. Consuming only limited food items results in dietary deficiencies in the long run. Majority of the rural population live on only rice or wheat and pulses. Due to this Micronutrient deficiency is widely prevalent. To cater this food fortification process is used.
Food fortification is usually regarded as the deliberate addition of one or more micronutrients to particular foods, so as to increase the intake of these micronutrient(s) in order to correct or prevent a demonstrated deficiency and provide a health benefit. It is a very simple, cost-effective and proven strategy in use across globe.
a)Nutrients are added to staple foods that are widely consumed. Thus, this is an excellent method to improve the health of a large section of the population, all at once.
b)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 so small and so well regulated as per prescribed standards that the likelihood of an overdose of nutrients is unlikely.
c)It does not require any changes in eating patterns or food habits of people.
d)It is a socio-culturally acceptable way to deliver nutrients to people.
e)It does not alter the characteristics of the food.
f)It can be implemented quickly as well as show results in improvement of health in a relatively short period of time.
g)This is a cost-effective method especially if advantage is taken of the existing technology and delivery platforms.
h)It 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.