Published: 23rd March 2018
Fortified rice, milk compulsory for kids in Karnataka: Health Department
Five products were identified by the state health department as they form a crucial part of the daily diet of both children and adults
Does your child make a fuss when they see milk? Well, according to a new order by the Karnataka Health Department, five fortified products with additional nutrients will be mandatory to their diet.The five products are milk, salt, oil, rice and wheat, a bid by the state government to keep the children healthy and strong.
Once this plan is executed, Karnataka would be the second state in India to make mandatory fortified food products available to its masses, after Rajasthan. A meeting was held by department officials on Thursday to chalk out plans to introduce fortified food products and identify nutrients that would be added to these products. On Friday, another round of meeting is planned — this time with officials of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
The health department identified these five food products for fortification because these are consumed on a daily basis by children as well as adults. As part of the plan, the fortified food producers have to ensure that adequate and required nutritional supplements are added to these products for fortification.
Senior health department officials said that with inadequate nutrients children suffered from various health issues. "For instance, due to lack of vitamin A, children have problems with eyesight; similarly, with lack of vitamin D, bones become weak. In order to create a strong generation, we need to provide children with the required nutrients,'' said a department official.
Harshavardhan B, Joint Commissioner, Food Safety Commissionerate said that a meeting was also convened with the stakeholders concerned. "We are going to launch it in the state very soon. We will be the second state to make fortified food products mandatory after Rajasthan. Once it is launched, manufacturers and vendors have to sell these products. People should check if these contents (the additional nutrients) are there in these products, and only then buy,'' he said.
The health department also plans to publicise the fortified food products as awareness is crucial. "With the help of various media, we will sensitise people and make them buy these products — after all, it is for their benefit,'' said the senior official.
Prof MB Rajegowda, an Agrometeorologist, who works at the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), said "We have requested agriculture minister Krishna Byregowda to give incentives or better support price for such products that have additional nutrients. We need to encourage growers for such products,'' he added.
He said based on geographical area and rainfall pattern, not just these food products but even vegetables and fruits can be added with nutrients. “The best way is during sowing, then post harvesting,'' he said.