News article

Strategies for introducing vitamin D-fortified foods in India

Posted:  Monday, July 11, 2016

Approaches for fortification of low-cost foods with vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is widespread in India despite the availability of ample sunshine, a very good source of vitamin D. Target-based food fortification programmes or interventions for improving feeding practices are necessary for the prevention of vitamin D deficiency. A review article on the fortification of foods with vitamin D in India was published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. The article explored potential strategies for fortifying staple foods with vitamin D, for infants and children.

Suitable complementary foods for children should include foods that are ready to eat (RTE), with each serving providing sufficient energy and micronutrient to fulfill daily nutrient requirements. The servings should be prepared hygienically; tasty; cost-effective; easy to pack, store, and transport; and have a longer storage life. RTE foods with high levels of fat, salt, and/or sugar also have the potential for micronutrient fortification. They can be made wholesome by some modifications, including adding micronutrients such as vitamin D; reducing sugar, salt, and fat content; and increasing their proteins and dietary fibre, with zero trans fats. However, these RTE foods are not cost-effective and cannot be recommended for long-term use. Traditionally produced RTE foods are generally wholesome and suitable for local populations and could be distributed through The Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal (MDM programmes.

Food fortification programmes are required to address the needs of children in India. Fortified foods prepared using minimal processing methods can retain nutrients and will have a significant impact on the bone health and general health of infants and children. Sattu is a protein rich, traditional Indian food prepared using roasted cereals and legume flours that can serve as a low-cost vehicle for vitamin D fortification. It is a nutritious mix containing carbohydrates (66%), protein (20%), fat (7%), and energy (400 calories) per 100g. Sattu has a huge potential for serving as a low-cost and technically feasible vehicle for vitamin D fortification. The Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) programme can incorporate ready-to-eat foods (RTE) fortified with micronutrients such as vitamin D.

News source - Gupta A. Fortification of foods with vitamin d in India: Strategies targeted at children. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2015 May 4; 34(3):263-72.