Fortification of Oil is a process by which nutrients, vitamins and minerals are added to any staple food. So as to improve the nutritional quality of the oil, his process of adding micronutrients to increase its nutritional value, is expected to achieve almost 99% penetration of the Indian population due to the widespread use of cooking oil. All kinds of edible oils (soybean, palmolein, groundnut, cotton seed, mustard, sunflower etc.) can be fortified, so that people of different areas and regions can have access to necessary nutrients when they consume food made with oil that has been fortified.
According to a World Health Organisation study, a considerable part of the Indian population is malnourished. To combat this problem, the government of India began to fortify food items like edible oils and even salt to help address the micro nutrient deficiency in India. It’s a rather an elegant solution to a national problem because fortification of edible oils can help a person meet their nutrient requirements that the body absolutely needs to function properly and normally. In fact, fortified oil can help a person meet 25-30% of the recommended dietary intake for vitamins A and D, according to FSSAI.
The main reason why fortification of Oil is an excellent idea is that the appearance, taste, texture, flavour and shelf life of the edible oils remain unaffected by the process. This means that absolutely any edible oil in the market can be fortified, hence reaching and helping millions of Indians every single day. The only reason any of this has been possible is the advancement in Science and Technology to address an otherwise grave problem. The fortification of food is not a new concept to India.
How does it actually work?
Well, anybody keen enough to read up on the wonders of science that surround all our food will tell you, that the fortification of oil is easy, sustainable and the most efficient way to reach a big population. The process itself comes down to mixing the refined edible oils with nutrients like Vitamin A which is a very oil soluble and hence it mixes very easily. Oil fortification is also very affordable! The equipment, technology and processes are well established to enable sustained production in India. There is no major price increase of the fortified product either, keeping it affordable for all.
The technology is simple and the process requires no special equipment as vitamin A is naturally oily and readily mixes with other oils and fats. The costs are ‘micro’ – but benefits of good nutrition over a lifetime are ‘macro’. Luckily, it’s a tried and tested method to ensure that the people are getting the nutrients they need. Some of our state governments allow the sale of only fortified edible oils, so as to legally bind companies into selling nutritionally better-fortified product.
Currently, fortification of edible oil in India is optional, not mandatory. Certain commercial organisations are voluntarily fortifying edible oils as per the FSSAI rules to increase the value of their product in order to sell a nutritionally better quality, healthy ingredient.
One such oil is Emami’s new Smart Balance Oil which has been fortified with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E. Each of these vitamins along with naturally present Omega 3 has its own nutritional attributes, in addition to its benefit of improved immunity for low immunity related health issues. Fortification of food is a scientific and technological marvel ensuring that everybody gets the essential nutrients in the safest and most ecological way possible.