The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on 14 February 2017 formed a scientific panel on food fortification and nutrition.
The scientific panel was mandated to identify critical nutritional gaps in the Indian diet in general as well as in specific target groups based on diet surveys and credible scientific evidence.
The panel includes 11 distinguished scientists and experts in the field of nutrition. Apart from these 11 experts, members of scientific panels dealing with fortification of food such as wheat flour, refined flour, rice, milk, edible oil and salt will also be a part of this panel.
In addition, following agencies will be working with this panel.
• Union Ministry of Women and Child Development
• Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
• Department of Biotechnology
• Indian Council of Medical Research
Terms of reference of the panel are -
• To define strategies to address the nutritional needs of the general population and vulnerable groups in India
• To review the standards for all suitable food fortifying vehicles
• To suggest healthy dietary intake of fat, sugar and salt for Indians
• To address regulatory and technological issues related to nutrition
• To review proposals from industry using modern risk assessment methods
• To prescribe standard sampling and test methods for effective monitoring, surveillance and enforcement of the relevant regulations
• Micronutrient malnutrition disorders are ubiquitously prevalent in all age groups of the population.
• As per the National Family Health Survey (2006-07) and the World Bank (2006), about 70 per cent preschool children suffer from iron deficiency and 57 per cent preschool children have sub-clinical Vitamin A deficiency.
• Further, as per the World Bank (2006), iodine deficiency is endemic in 85 per cent of districts in India.
• Folate deficiency, which leads to Neural Tube Defects (NTDS), is the most common congenital malformation in Indian context with an incidence that varies between 0.5/1000 births and 8/1000 births.
• Moreover, it is estimated that 50-70 per cent of these birth defects are preventable.
• Against this backdrop, the FSSAI has set up the scientific panel on food fortification and nutrition to strengthen the policy framework.
What: Formed by FSSAI
When: 14 February 2017