Please Sign and Share Petition to Improve Flour Fortification Standards in India

02 May 2019

The Spina Bifida Foundation of India has started a petition to urge the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to improve its standard for the type and amounts of nutrients to add to fortified wheat flour. People from any country can sign the online petition.

In 2016, FSSAI developed standards that were very much in line with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations. In 2018, FSSAI switched to dramatically lower standards (see table) that will lead to no reduction in anemia or birth defects of the brain or spine. The petition is to ask FSSAI to revert to the 2016 standards.

Minimum level to be required per kilogram of fortified atta (wheat flour)

Micronutrients

2016

2018

Iron*

20 milligrams sodium iron EDTA

28 milligrams of various iron compounds or
14 milligram sodium iron EDTA

Folic acid

1300 micrograms

75 micrograms

Vitamin B12

10 micrograms

0.75 micrograms

*Atta is high extraction flour; the only iron compound recommended is sodium iron EDTA.

 

See links to supporting documents for statistics in the petition:

  • In India, about 45 brain and spine birth defects occur in every 10,000 pregnancies. That equates to 115,390 birth defects every year.
  • Many children born with spina bifida die before their fifth birthday. See a study from the United Kingdom and a global estimate.
  • Fortifying India’s staples with adequate amounts of folic acid could prevent more than 100,000 deaths among children under five years of age every year.