INDIA – The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued provisions for licensing and registration of fortified food products in its Food Safety and Compliance System.
The provisions cover processed food products categories, including milk, edible oil, fortified fruit juices, rice, wheat flour and maida1 (refined flour), fortified cereal products, fortified bakery ware, and salt.
As per FSSAI-issued standard operating procedures, food business operators (FBOs) are required to upload test reports showing levels of fortificants in the fortified food product.
Results must be obtained from the FSSAI notified National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories against each product for +F endorsement and validate the claim for fortification.
Based on the application verified, the designated officer or the registering authority will provide a +F endorsement certificate to the food business operator.
FSSAI clarifies that that the +F endorsement certificate is valid for as long as the license and the registration certificate are valid, or for the duration the product is licensed and the food product category in the registration certificate is endorsed.
Companies desiring to obtain +F endorsement certificate can visit the FSSAI website for instructions on the on-boarding process.
Fortification & Hidden Hunger
Fortification plays an integral role in the fight against hidden hunger: a lack of vitamins and minerals that occurs when the quality of food eaten does not meet nutrient requirements.
Globally, more than 2 billion individuals, or one in three people, are affected – or rather, afflicted – by hidden hunger (FAO 2013).
Also known as micronutrient malnutrition, the effects range from nutrient-deficiency diseases, compromised immune systems, higher mortality rates in pregnant and lactating women and infants, mental and physical retardation in children, and so on and so forth.
Recognizing the importance of fortification in enhancing the nutrition of its people, the government of India has in place a list of foods that must be fortified by food processors.
These include salt, vegetable oil, milk, Maida, Rice, and Vanaspati Atta. Once fortified, these products are released with the +F logo to show compliance.
Over the years, fortification has however been expanded to include other foods such as breakfast cereals, buns, rusk, pasta, noodles, among others.
Onboarding process can however be challenging for food companies and the recently released standards of operations are aimed at streamlining the process the process of acquiring the +F certification.
The SOPs also enhance oversight to ensure that consumers are not duped into buying foods that claim to be fortified but in reality are not fortified.