Article

Rice fortification: its potential for improving micronutrient intake and steps required for implementation at scale

World Food Programme, Rome, Italy.
Food and nutrition bulletin (Impact Factor: 1.5). 12/2012; 33(4 Suppl):S360-72.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Micronutrient deficiencies affect over 2 billion people worldwide, with profound implications for health, cognitive development, education, economic development, and productivity. Fortification of staple foods is a cost-effective strategy to increase vitamin and mineral intake among the general population. Rice is consumed by billions of people (> 440 million MT/year) but is as yet rarely fortified.
To discuss the untapped opportunity of rice fortification.
Review literature and experience with rice fortification and compare to fortification of other staple foods.
Most technologies used to fortify rice first produce the fortified kernels and then blend them with regular, polished rice. Technologies differ with regard to how nutrients are added to the rice kernels, required investment, production cost, and degree of resemblance to unfortified rice. There are, so far, limited success stories for rice fortification. Some of the main roadblocks appear to be high initial investment and associated cost; lack of government leadership; and consumer hesitation to accept variations in the characteristics of rice, or a higher price, without good understanding of the benefits.
In countries with a large centralized rice milling industry, starting rice fortification is easier than in countries with many small mills. Countries with large safety nets that supply rice to the poorest, for free or subsidized, have a good channel to reach those most in need. Furthermore, key players from the public and private sectors should establish a coalition to support the use of fortified rice and address some of the barriers to its implementation.

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