Sensitization cum Advocacy Workshop on Edible Oil Fortification” was organized by Indian Institute of Health Management & Research, Jaipur in association with state government at Hotel J W Marriott, Chandigarh. The objective of the workshop was to make oil industries of the state understand the need and importance of fortification of edible oil to combat widespread vitamin A and D deficiencies in India and adopt the same to contribute for the cause.Mr. Tarun Vij, Country Director, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), India talked about worldwide contribution of GAIN in reducing malnutrition by adopting cost effective measures like food fortification. Mr. Vij shared that currently GAIN is working in 29 countries. Mr. Vivek Arora, Senior Adsvisor, The India Nutrition Initiative, TATA TRUSTS told that to promote edible oil fortification in Punjab/ Haryana/ Chandigarh, GAIN and TATA Trusts have chosen IIHMR, Jaipur as executive agency and based on the experience of edible oil fortification in Rajasthan, they would be working with different departments of Punjab/ Haryana/ Chandigarh to scale up the same in the state. In the workshop, it was informed that today, vitamin and mineral deficiencies are considered as emerging public health problems due to changes in our life styles, eating habits, and traditional agricultural practices.
Vitamin A and D deficiencies are such public health problems, which can be tackled by adopting simple and cost-effective method of fortification. Representatives of state food department and health department also backed up the concept and shared that FSSAI has been very active in supporting fortification of different food staples especially edible oil due to its vast reach.Government Officials facilitated the Oil industries to fortify their oil brands as per the standards of FSSAI and enrich their oil with required vitamins to benefit the society. A representative of FSSAI shared that the food business operators, who are fortifying their product, shall put F + logo on their packaging for recognition of fortified foods. Representatives from IIHMR, Jaipur informed that Ministry of Human Resource Development and Ministry of Women and Child Development have also mandated the fortification of the related food articles being used in Mid Day Meals and Integrated Child Development Schemes. Technical experts told about the process of oil fortification and methods of testing to ensure the quality product. The oil millers of the state agreed to take up the edible oil fortification and help their customers by providing fortified edible oil in the open market as well through public funded programmes. In the last, IIHMR, Jaipur ensured to provide all kinds of technical support in terms of capacity building and quality assurance to state government as well as oil industry stakeholders.