FORTIFICATION OF INDUSTRIALLY MILLED CEREAL GRAINS
Milan SHAHHenry Simon Milling
As supplier of cereal-based faods products, flour millers have a responsibility ta help feeding the world in healthy and enriched ways. in addition, they can have a role in prevention of chronic diseases such as iron deficiency anemia and birth defects.
Despite this, according ta "Food Fortification lnitiative" currently globally only 82 countries have legislation ta mandate fartification of at least one industrially milled cereal grain while there are about 195 countries in the world today. in addition, eight countries fartify more than half of their industrially milled wheat flour through voluntary efforts and these countries include Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Lesotho, Namibia, Qatar, Swaziland, and the United Arab Emirates. Most of these countries mandate fartification of wheat and maize flour with at least iron and falic acid. Very recently, The National Fortification Alliance of Pakistan, NFA is partnering with the United Nations World Food Program, WFP and the government of Australia ta launch a pilot project ta fight malnutrition by fartifying wheat flour in lslamabad and Rawalpindi.
According to World Health Organization, WHO and Centers far Disease Control and Prevention, CDC; lron deficiency anemia is the most widespread nutritional deficiency in the world and has importance consequences far child development and enormous economic costs. Likewise, according ta WHO, CDC and lnternational Clearing house far Birth Defects Surveillance and Research, ICBDSR; Neural tube defects are among the most common structural congenital anomalies worldwide, with an estimated 300,000 cases per year and contribute ta 10% of deaths during the first 28 days of life.
Obviously, the best way of preventing micronutrient malnutrition is ta ensure consumption ofa balanced diet that is adequate in every nutrient. Unfartunately, this is far from being achievable everywhere since it requires universal access ta adequate faod and appropriate dietary habits. From this standpoint, faod fartification has the dual advantage of being able ta deliver nutrients ta large segments of the population without requiring radical changes in faod consumption patterns.
lron, zinc, tolic Acid (89), thiamine (81), riboflavin (82), niacin (83), 812, vitamin A and vitamin D are minerals and vitamins commonly used in flour tortification. The most common practice is ta add multiple vitamins and minerals using a single ingredient called a premix and premix includes: Fortificants (powdered vitamins and minerals), excipients (carriers, fillers), and free-flow agent. Premix manufacturers usually include nutrients at levels approximately 2% ta 5% higher than listed on the label. This accounts tor potential nutrient loss and ensures that the premix meets the label claims.
During tortification process in the mili, use of micro dosing and proper mixing mechanism are important tor correct amount and unitorm distribution of tortification agents in flour. The most common way ta tortify flour is ta use the equipment called feeder ar in practice as micro doser machine, which is used at flour blending stage just betore packaging operation. This adds premix ta flour precisely at pre-determined rates in the process of flour production. The micro doser device is easily reachable that it is supplied by Alapala, Henry Simon and other leading milling equipment manufacturers. Three types of feeders are available: screw, revolving disk and drum ar roller. Milis generally need one feeder per tor each type of flour ar meal line ta be tortified, and the size and number of feeders needed depends on the amount of flour produced per hour. The operating principle of micro doser unit is basically pre-mixing of product and ingredients with a steel palette mixer, then adding into flour sensitively in gram levels with a discharge mechanism. The unit is alsa an electronically controlled tora sensitive adjustment of feeding speed and amount ete. according ta the process.
As an Example of Cilobal Cirain Fortification Progress, Africa Case
in Africa, 26 countries have mandates ta tortify wheat flour. Nine of these countries alsa require tortification of maize flour. Six countries in this region tortify more than half of their industrially milled wheat flour even though it is not mandatory. in early 2011, FFI conducted an exhaustive analysis of flour tortification opportunities in Africa and tound that seven countries were tortifying at least 75% of their industrially milled wheat flour. FFI believes that currently 19 countries are tortifying at least 75% of their industrially milled wheat flour with at least iron and tolic acid at levels that are expected ta make a health impact. in Africa, South Africa and Nigeria were the first two countries ta tortify flour.
Definition of Food Fortification and Flour Fortification
There always has been a confusion between enrichment and fartification terms and most of the times, they are used interchangeably. Pyler and Gorton describes "enrichment" as the practice of adding back vitamins and minerals lost during processing while "fartification" as supplementation with nutrients not previously present in the faod ar not naturally occurring at such high levels. They alsa indicated that enrichment describes the addition of the B vitamins and iron ta flour because losses in these materials range from 60 ta 80% in flours with an extraction rate of 70 ta 75%. WHO/FAO defines faod fartification as "the addition of one ar more essential nutrients ta a faod, whether ar not it is normally contained in the faod, far the purpose of preventing ar correcting a demonstrated deficiency of one ar more nutrients in the general population ar specific population groups ". This process usually takes place during the processing of staple faods at a central level sa that it reaches a considerable proportion of the at-risk populations without requiring their active participation.
Flour Fortification adds nutrients to flour to help people thrive throughout their lives
Food fartification is one of the leading public health interventions recommended ta prevent and control micronutrient defi cie ncies . Staple faods and condiments are among the faods most commonly fartified with vitamins and mineral s. Wheat flour was the first cereal grain product ta be widely fartified, and the first cereal grain recommendations issued by the WHO pertained ta maize and wheat fl our.
Fortification of industrially processed flour, when appropriately implemented, is an efficient, simple and inexpensive strategy far supplying vitamins and minerals ta the diets of large segments of the populat io n. Adding iron ta flour during the milling process helps reduce the risk of iron-deficiency anemia since it is
caused by iron deficiency and wheat flour is the staple most commonly fartified with iron in large-scale fartification programs. The mandatory fartification of wheat flour with Fe significantly furthered the reduction in the prevalence of inadequate intake, except among women of reproductive age, and changed the main contributors ta this nutrient in the studied population. Therefare, monitoring of Fe addition in flour is essential ta assess compliance ta the fartified flour policy and ta guarantee a safe Fe intake far all the population.
Wheat flour fortification is a preventive food-based approach to improve micronutrient status of populations over time that can be integrated with other interventions in the efforts to reduce vitamin and mineral deficiencies when identified as public health problems. Wheat flour fortification programs could be expected to be most effective in achieving a public health impact if mandated at the national level and can help achieve international public health goals.
Decisions about which nutrients to add and the appropriate amounts to add to fortify flour should be based ona series of factors including the nutritional needs and deficiencies of the population; the usual consumption profile of "fortifiable" flour (i.e. the total estimated amount of flour milled by industrial roller milis, produced domestically or imported, which could in prin,ciple be fortified); sensory and physical effect of micro ingredients on flour and flour products; fortification of other food varieties; population consumption of vitamin and mineral supplements; and costs.
Flour fortification programs should include appropriate Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC) programs at mil Is as well as regulatory and public health monitoring of the nutrient content of fortified foods and assessment of the nutritional/health impacts of the fortification strategies. in addition, those requirements, to have a sustainable and successful flour fortification program, local culture and multi-sector national fortification alliance are alsa utmost importance.
in conclusion, as flour millers we have a responsibility of to feed billions of people throughout the world, not only satiate them but alsa make healthier. Fortified foods have health and nutrition value added so it will increase the competitiveness of the industry