Over 170 individuals and organisations along with the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA Kisan Swaraj) have written to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), urging it to scrap its plans to make synthetic/chemical fortification of foods mandatory in India.
They cited detrimental and irreversible health and socio-economic impacts such as market shifts in favour of large corporations, loss of livelihoods for small and informal players, monocultures in diets and reliance on packaged foods and more. Earlier this year, the FSSAI issued draft regulations on mandatory fortification of edible oil and milk with vitamin A and D. It also announced intentions to make rice fortification mandatory starting 2024.
Nutritionists pointed out that adding one or two synthetic chemical vitamins and minerals will not solve the larger problem, and in undernourished populations, can lead to toxicity, including gut inflammation.
“Evidence supporting fortification is inconclusive and certainly not adequate before major national policies are rolled out,” said Dr Veena Shatrugna, former Deputy Director of National Institute of Nutrition.