Seven Premix Steps for Wheat and Maize Flour Millers
The vitamins and minerals used in fortification are combined in a powdery blend called a premix. This is added to flour in the milling process or used to make fortified rice kernels. Premix does not affect the taste, smell, texture, or baking qualities.
Several global companies offer premix made for specific country standards. We do not endorse any premix provider; we provide technical assistance on safe handling, maintaining shelf life, and managing the premix supply.
We recommend the following steps for flour millers. See information for rice millers in the frequently asked questions.
- Purchase quality premix. Some countries, such as South Africa, maintain a list of approved premix suppliers. If your country does not use such a list, choose a supplier that has met the quality requirements set by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) or one that follows all the Premix Best Practices (English or French).
- Seek bids from multiple vendors. Normally mills purchase premix from one supplier for the length of a contract. The bidding process will ensure competitive pricing.
- Inspect premix upon delivery. Mild damage to the outer cardboard container is acceptable, but water damage to the premix or tears in the inner plastic bag are not acceptable. Check the content of one box to be sure the premix has no lumps, spots, or odor.
- Confirm the nutritional content. Each lot of premix should include a certificate of analysis. Confirm that the vitamins and minerals listed meet your country’s specifications.
- Keep accurate records of premix use. Unusual increases or decreases in the amount of premix used indicate problems in fortification procedures.
- Store premix well. Keep premix away from sunlight, excessive heat, and potential water damage. Use the oldest supply first.
- Order premix in amounts that can be used before the expiration date. Premixes without vitamin A or vitamin C will maintain their nutritional benefit up to three years if stored properly. Premixes with vitamin A may only last six months. Premix suppliers will provide the exact shelf life of the product.
One way to cut costs is for milling associations to order premix in bulk, have it delivered to a central location, then divide it among association members. A few governments do this for all the industrial mills in their country.
We do not recommend that millers order nutrients individually and add them separately to flour or mix them at the mill. Nutrients have different densities, and premix suppliers blend the vitamins and minerals so that they do not clog the mill’s equipment. Using premix reduces a mill’s labor requirements and lessons the chance of error because reputable premix providers adhere to precise quality control measures.
While premix suppliers are essential partners in the fortification process, to avoid potential conflicts of interest, we do not accept annual contributions from premix companies or allow premix companies to be represented on our Executive Management Team.
This is an example of a feeder or dosifier used to add a mix of vitamins and minerals to flour as wheat or maize is milled. Photo copyright David Snyder with the CDC Foundation.