The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has constituted a panel to identify critical nutritional gaps in the Indian diet in general and also in specific specific target groups.
The Panel on Food Fortification and Nutrition will also review standards for all suitable food fortifying vehicles in addition to healthy dietary intake of fat, sugar and salt. The panel would include Dr Ambrish Mithal (Medanta) Dr C S Pandav and Major General (Retd) Dr R K Marwaha (AIIMS), Dr Anura Kurpad (St. John’s Medical College), Dr Yogeshwar Shukla (CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research), Prof H P S Sachdev (Sita Ram Bharatia Institute of Science and Research), Dr K M Nair (National Institute of Nutrition), Dr P Ramachandran (Nutrition Foundation of India), Dr Sumit Arora (National Dairy Research Institute) Dr Sirimavo Nair (MS University, Baroda) and Prof Harsulkar (Bharati Vidyapeeth).
Ministries of health, women and child development, biotechnology department and Indian Council of Medical Research will also be working with the panel. According to National Family Health Survey (2006-07) and the World Bank (2006), about 70 per cent preschool children suffer from iron deficiency anemia. As many as 57 per cent preschool children have sub-clinical vitamin A deficiency.
World Bank (2006) figures say Iodine deficiency is endemic in 85 per cent of districts. Folate deficiency leads to Neural Tube Defects, the most common congenital malformation in India with an incidence that varies between 0.5-8/1,000 births. It is estimated that 50-70 per cent of these birth defects are preventable. To deal with endemic nutritional deficiencies, FSSAI has launched the Food Fortification Resource Centre to promote large-scale fortification of food across India.