Fortification is the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, i.e. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in a food, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and provide a public health.
Manufactured from wheat kernels, flour is the key ingredient found in about 75 percent of all grain products.Flour varieties are produced by milling and combining different parts and types of wheat grain. As nutrient loss occurs during milling, nutrients are added to flour in amounts equal to those present before processing to make enriched flour. Fortified flour is made by adding nutrients in excess to quantities lost during milling, or additional nutrients are added to improve its nutritive value.
Fortification of wheat flour is a cost-effective public health intervention that can reduce vitamin and mineral deficiencies (VMD) and prevent birth defects such as Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) due to folic acid deficiency. Wheat flour fortification can potentially reduce iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia. Iron helps children develop physically and mentally, and it improves the health of pregnant women. Adequate intake of vitamin B12 through fortified flour can also improve mental growth and development of children. Therefore, the health impact of fortifying wheat flour with iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 is immense.
The average Indian derives his calorie intake thorough cereals. Wheat occupies second position in terms of consumption after rice. Per capita wheat consumption in India is approximately 50kg/ year. Wheat flour fortified as per the recommendations from FSSAI will provide one third of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of various essential vitamins and minerals.