On the occasion of World Milk Day (1st June), a national webinar on Improving the Nutrition Quality of Milk through Fortification was organised to discuss the potential role of fortified milk in improving health and immunity. It was jointly hosted by Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Food Safety Standard Authority of India (FSSAI). Several representatives from the government, development partners, academia, and milk industry participated in the webinar.
Presently, India produces over 193 lakh liters per day of fortified milk reaching over 121 million people. With mandatory fortification in the anvil, these numbers would increase significantly across the country, contributing to improved nutrition and health status of the Indian population.
Arun Singhal, CEO, FSSAI informed that “FSSAI in December 2020, issued a draft notification, for mandatory fortification of packaged toned, double toned, skimmed milk or standardised milk with Vitamin A and Vitamin D. This will ensure nationwide availability of fortified milk and a positive impact in mitigating micronutrient malnutrition among populations. He further added that, “It is crucial to make concerted efforts for scaling up and sustaining efforts towards quality fortification while making fortification mandatory in the country.”
Dr Ambrish Mittal, Head of Endocrinology and Diabetes at Max Healthcare pointed out that “Limited sun exposure in current times increases risk of vitamin D deficiency. Hence, it is vital that fortification of milk with vitamin A and D be promoted and supported”.
Dr. Sumit Arora, Principal Scientist, Dairy Chemistry Division, NDRI, Karnal elaborated that fortification of milk with vitamins A and D does not have any impact on the final product in terms of colour, taste, storage quality of milk.
Tarun Vij, Country Director, GAIN emphasised that “We need to adopt a strategic approach for scale-up of milk fortification in the country and it should be complemented with building capacity of milk industry partners for producing quality-assured milk fortified with vitamin A and vitamin D.”