fortified foods

In the fight against malnutrition, a big health problem in India, the country is using a powerful tool: fortified foods The process of fortification in foods is making them enriched with essential nutrients to help meet the nutritional requirements of the populace. We consume rice, flour, and milk products on a daily basis and these have been fortified with essential vitamins and minerals which are lacking in many people’s diets. In a survey done recently by the National Health Survey (NFHS),36% of kids under five years are reported to be stunted (low height-for-age), 19% wasted (low weight-for-height), and 32% underweight.

These deficiencies can have long-term effects, and the child’s development may be stunted physically and mentally. India particularly has a deficit in essential micronutrient necessities such as iron, vitamin A, iodine, and folic acid. However, to ensure that these processed foods have a positive impact on individuals’ lives, they should undergo several tests. This is where the testing of fortified food comes in to ensure maximum gains are achieved by the consumer as well as improving the food security of a country.

International and regional governments such as the Indian Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) are already making giant strides to ensure that fortified foods are safe, efficacious, and labeled appropriately. Performing strong testing, they intend to make people believe that fortified foods (+F) will provide them with the necessary extra vitamins and minerals, thus helping to make the nation healthier and stronger.

what is fortified foods?

In simple terms, fortified food refers to incorporating essential micronutrients like vitamins and minerals into staple foods during processing to enhance their nutritional value. Imagine taking your everyday staples like rice, flour, or milk and giving them an extra nutritional boost! Here’s why fortification is important:

Addressing Deficiencies

The issues of inadequate diet are particularly acute in developing countries where many people are deficient in iron, Vitamin A, iodine, and B vitamins. Fortification is useful since it supplements these nutrients in the foods that people consume daily.

Improved Public Health

By combating deficiencies, fortified foods tend to improve the health of an entire population. This further implies that the immune system becomes boosted, the cognitive performance level of the people is enhanced, and the probability of developing such diseases is minimized.

Convenience and Accessibility

Highly fortified foods are part of our regular diet it has been an easier and less expensive method for the provision of these nutrients. You are NOT forced to take extra supplements for them it’s added to the foods you already consume making it easier for you to get your nutrients.

examples of fortified foods

Rice, wheat flour
iron and folic acid and B group vitamins
vitamin A, vitamin D, calcium,
Double Fortified Salt
Iron, Iodine
Edible Oil
Vitamin A and Vitamin D

Important points to remember in fortified foods

Not a Replacement for a Balanced Diet

While fortified foods are beneficial as it provides the human body with nutrients, one should not rely solely on fortified foods to get the necessary nutrients instead of whole natural products. The essence of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein foods cannot be complemented for the crop of health benefits by fortified foods.

Overconsumption Risks

As mentioned earlier, it is rare to experience a toxicity level of these nutrients through consumption of fortified foods alone, however consuming a daily recommended amount of these nutrients is detrimental. This is particularly so for fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A; the effects of which could at times present toxicity.

Processing Concerns

However some of the fortified foods contain higher levels of added sugars, sodium, or unhealthy fats. Specifically, one must be cautious when making the selection and opt for the specific items that are fortified but contain little or no unhealthy components.

Transparency Matters

Not all foods are fortified and that may be some manufacturers may not make a point of identifying whether their food products are fortified or not. It is important for someone to read a food label to know what nutrients are inherent and what has been included in the process of enrichment.

Read Food Labels

From now onwards, it is time for you to become an expert in the labeling process! Thus, focus on the fortification information, the list of components, and the serving size to make the right decision.

Variety is Key

Do not depend on fortified foods only. Develop a healthy list of foods to include and eat a wide range of whole-natural foods to get the nutrients the body requires.

methods of fortification

In general, there are a few techniques that are employed in the process of fortification, based on the type of food that is to be fortified or the nutrient that is intended to be added. Here’s a breakdown of some common methods:

1. Adding Back Fortification

We use fortification when a food processing method removes some nutrients. For example, milling removes some iron and B vitamins from wheat flour. Fortification involves adding these lost nutrients back into the flour to restore them to appropriate levels.

2. Direct Addition

This methodology involves placing the vitamins and minerals of choice into the meals while preparing the food. For instance, Vitamin A supplements can be added directly to the cooking oil or vegetable oil meant for consumption.

3. Vehicle Fortification

This method uses a carrier to deliver the nutrients. The carrier can be a premix of vitamins and minerals or an ingredient in food that binds well with the nutrients. Manufacturers introduce this carrier into the final food product during the final stages of processing. For example, they can fortify Vitamin A in dry blended milk powder, making it easy to mix with other food products.

4. Biofortification

This is a relatively new approach that involves developing plant varieties that contain higher amounts of particular nutrients in the plant tissues. Unlike traditional approaches of adding nutrients and vitamins to existing food products, biofortification is a relatively costly approach but sustainable in the future. For example, rice varieties with enhanced pro-vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, and iron are being produced.

Fortified Food Testing Services offered by CVR Labs

Malnutrition can be fought through the consumption of fortified foods and this process must employ different strategies. Currently, governments set up standards and requisite tests, while food manufacturers engage in the actual fortification initiatives. CVR Labs is an analytical testing laboratory in Chennai, India that has filled the need for this process by providing fortified food services. They keep fortified foods safe, effective, and properly labeled to reach out to those in need of fortified nutrition.

This involves conducting trials on fortified rice, to confirm the viability of the vitamin and mineral enhancements. CVR Labs can also examine the solid kernels of rice and fortified premixes to determine how they have been fortified. With all these testing solutions, CVR Labs holds the hand of food manufacturers to offer fortified foods that are nutritious and mount to the standard quality which can help in addressing nutritional gaps.

Verification of Fortification

We analyze staple food and other fortified products to confirm the presence and appropriate levels of essential vitamins and minerals. This ensures accurate labeling and effective delivery of the intended nutritional boost.

1. Micronutrient Analysis

This test is the basis on which food fortified with nutrients is tested. It precisely measures the specific vitamins and minerals added to the food: 

Essential for Labeling: The outcome is significant for appropriate labeling, which makes the consumer fully aware of the nutrients they are consuming.
Verifying Levels: Testing confirms that the added vitamins and minerals are present at the intended levels to address deficiencies effectively.

2. Contaminant Testing

Fortified foods are also at risk of contamination. Testing ensures they are free from harmful substances like:
Pesticides: Farmers spray pesticides on crops, and traces can end up in fortified grains.
Mycotoxins: Mold formations develop these toxins, which are dangerous when found in fortified foods.

3. Microbiological Testing

Any food, including fortified products, can be unsafe if contaminated with dangerous bacteria or pathogens. This test assesses:
Bacterial Contamination: It tests for pathogenic bacteria which are associated with food-borne diseases.
Pathogen Control: Prevents hazardous bacteria and viruses that are capable of causing severe health hazards in the environment.

Most fortified foods must retain their nutritional contribution up to the product’s shelf life. This test monitors:
Nutrient Stability: Helps monitor how fortification levels fluctuate for various products in response to processing or storage conditions.
Spoilage Rate: Checks on how fortification impacts the ability of the food to be affected by spoiling factors, thus remain safe for use, for consumption.

5. Sensory Analysis

Processing for fortification should not cause foods to become less enjoyable. Sensory analysis assesses:
Taste and Texture: Evaluate how the added nutrients impact the taste and texture of the food, ensuring consumer acceptance.
Consumer Preferences: Understanding consumer preferences for taste and texture helps manufacturers develop fortified products that are both nutritious and enjoyable.

By undergoing extensive testing, fortified food manufacturers can ensure their products meet legal specifications, deliver the expected health benefits, and ultimately benefit consumers.

Join us in the fight against malnutrition. Let CVR Labs be your partner in ensuring the safety, efficacy, and consumer acceptance of your fortified food products. CONTACT US today to discuss your specific testing needs and learn more about how we can help you deliver high-quality, nutritious food to consumers around the world.

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