Fortified Rice Is Safe
On Friday, the Union Food Ministry refuted the claim made by the opposition Congress that fortified rice is still being sold through fair price shops despite several advisories from experts and organisations like NITI Aayog and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
Points to Ponder:
- The distribution of fortified rice through fair pricing stores is not as widespread as the Opposition Congress has claimed, according to the Union Food Ministry.
- The Ministry spokeswoman claimed that the NITI Aayog has been actively involved in managing the programme, along with other organisations like the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). They refuted the claims that NITI Aayog opposed enriched rice.
- According to the Ministry, eating fortified rice has significantly improved haemoglobin levels and decreased the prevalence of anaemia. To back up their assertion, they cited a number of studies.
- Seven nations, including the United States, have adopted rice fortification since 1958, according to the Ministry, demonstrating that it has been implemented successfully elsewhere.
- Concurrent evaluations of the programme are being carried out by the NITI Aayog and the Indian Council of Medical Research to determine its success.
- The Public Distribution System (PDS), mid-day meals, and anganwadis are examples of public safety net programmes that will now receive iron-fortified rice, according to a statement from the Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA).
- ASHA alleged that the government expanded the programme before concluding or independently assessing the 15-state pilot programme. The government’s response to an RTI stated that the evaluation of these pilots was planned to be finished by late 2022.
- For many low-income residents who rely on government-subsidized food and cannot afford to purchase non-fortified rice on the open market, iron-fortified rice has become a requirement, according to ASHA.