Advantages of Fortifying Wheat Flour
(1) Wheat flour fortification is a safe and effective means of improving public health.
(2) Fortified wheat flour is an excellent vehicle for adding nutrients to the diet as wheat flour is commonly consumed by all people.
(3) Cost effective method to prevent nutritional deficiencies.
(4) During milling of wheat, nutrient losses take place. Fortification helps in adding back these nutrients.
(5) Iron, Folic acid and Vitamin B12 when added to wheat flour is important for fighting anaemia and blood formation
Fortification of wheat flour is a cost-effective public health intervention that can reduce Micro Nutrient Deficiencies (MNDs) and prevent birth defects such as Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) due to folic acid deficiency. Wheat flour fortification can potentially reduce iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia. Iron helps children develop physically and mentally, and improves the health of pregnant women. Adequate intake of vitamin B12 through fortified flour can improve mental growth and development of children. Therefore, the health impact of fortifying wheat flour with iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 is immense. Wheat flour fortified as per
the recommendations from FSSAI will provide one third of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of various essential vitamins and minerals. The technology for fortifying wheat flour is simple and cost effective. This would require a premix feeder to add vitamins and minerals into flour and a blender to ensure uniform mixing of the micronutrients. Mills planning to undertake wheat flour fortification must also ensure adherence to internal and external quality control systems.
The first step is designing the micronutrient premix. A premix contains a uniform mixture of the desired nutrients in the required amounts, which will help in the uniform distribution of the fortificants in the flour. The designed micronutrient premix is accurately metered through a volumetric feeder intro the flour. These feeders consist of a rotating feed screw which is driven by a motor, the speed of which can be adjusted to modify the rate of addition of the premix. These feeders either make use of gravity or a pneumatic system to dispense the premix into the flour.
In order to achieve uniform distribution of the fortificants in the flour, the feeders must be placed at a centralised location with respect to the conveyor carrying the flour. A centrally located feeder will ensure that there will be sufficient time provided for the fortificants to mix before the flour is collected and sent for packaging and storage. The plant should have the right mixers, feeders, and quality control equipment so as to ensure that the fortified flour has effective levels of the desired fortificants present in the finished product.