Fortified rice is a treasure trove of nutrients, know its benefits and how to prepare and eat it

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What is Fortified Rice: Fortified rice means nutritious rice. It contains more iron, vitamin B-12, folic acid than common rice. They look like normal rice. They can be washed, boiled and cooked like normal rice and eaten. To remove malnutrition, the government is distributing it in mid-day meal and ration etc.

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Malnutrition is a serious problem in India. In the Global Food Security Index of 113 countries, India was ranked 71st in 2021. According to the Food Ministry, on an average, every second woman in the country is anemic and every third child is weak. To overcome this situation of malnutrition, the central government has started an ambitious campaign, under which fortified rice is being promoted in mid-day meal and ration etc.

What is fortified rice?

Fortified rice means nutritious rice. It contains more iron, vitamin B-12, folic acid than common rice. Apart from this, fortified rice containing zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B is also prepared. They are eaten mixed with common rice. They look just like regular rice. Their taste is also said to be better. According to the Food Safety Regulator FSSAI, eating them increases the amount of nutrients in the food and keeps good health.

How is it prepared?

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Fortified rice is made in mills. During this, the amount of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals in them is artificially increased. For this, techniques like coating, dusting and extrusion are used. Flour is made by grinding dry rice first. Then micronutrients are added to it. They are mixed well with water. After drying with the help of machines, this mixture is given the shape of rice, which is called Fortified Rice Kernel (FRK). After being prepared, they are mixed in the common rice. The rules of FSSAI say that it is mixed in the ratio of 1:100, which means 10 grams of fortified rice is mixed in 1 kg of rice.

What are the benefits of eating it?

one kg of fortified rice contains iron (28 to 42.5 mg), folic acid (75 to 125 micrograms), vitamin B12 (0.75 to 1.25 micrograms). Apart from this, FSSAI has also prescribed Zinc (10 to 15 mg), Vitamin A (500-700 µg), Vitamin B1 (1-1.5 mg). Guidelines have also been issued to fortify rice with Vitamin B2 (1.25-1.75 mg), Vitamin B3 (12.3-20 mg) and Vitamin B6 (1.5-2.5 mg). Once prepared, it can be eaten for up to 12 months.

How to differentiate between regular rice and fortified rice?

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The Food Ministry has instructed mills that the length of fortified rice should not be more than 5 mm and width should not exceed 2.2 mm. In such a situation, they look like normal rice in appearance. However, the government has also made arrangements for separate identification of these rice. The logo of +F remains on their packet and it is written that it has been fortified. There is no need to adopt any different method for cooking. Like normal rice, they can be washed, boiled and cooked and eaten.

How much does it cost to prepare it?

When PM Modi announced this on Independence Day last year, about 2700 mills had already set up fortified rice mixing plants. According to the ministry, 13.67 lakh tonnes of capacity is being produced in 14 major states. Some changes have to be made in the mills to make. Mixing plants have to be set up. The ministry estimates that a plant with a capacity of 4 to 5 tonnes per hour would cost between Rs 15 to 20 lakh. On an average,

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