Global leaders hoping to fight anemia with rice fortification


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In 1995, JavaScript was introduced as a computer programming language, DVDs were announced for media storage, Microsoft launched Windows 95 and 33 percent of non-pregnant women ages 15 to 49 years old worldwide had anemia.

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Global leaders hoping to fight anemia with rice fortification

  1. 1. Digital Re-print - May | June 2014 Global leaders hoping to fight anemia with rice fortification Grain & Feed MillingTechnology is published six times a year by Perendale Publishers Ltd of the United Kingdom. All data is published in good faith, based on information received, and while every care is taken to prevent inaccuracies, the publishers accept no liability for any errors or omissions or for the consequences of action taken on the basis of information published. ©Copyright 2014 Perendale Publishers Ltd.All rights reserved.No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission of the copyright owner. Printed by Perendale Publishers Ltd. ISSN: 1466-3872
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  3. 3. I n 1995, JavaScript was introduced as a computer programming language, DVDs were announced for media storage, Microsoft launched Windows 95 and 33 percent of non-pregnant women ages 15 to 49 years old worldwide had anemia. Computer technology has made tremen- dous strides since 1995, but by 2011, the global percent of non-pregnant women with anemia had only dropped to 29 percent, as published in The Lancet Global Health in July 2013. Global leaders in grain fortification are hoping that the technology for rice fortifica- tion will soon match the pace of computer technology development and lead to more success at preventing nutritional anemia. “People around the world get most of their calories and carbohydrates from foods made with wheat, maize or rice. To the extent that we can fortify them, the greater health impact we will have,” said Reynaldo Martorell, Woodruff Professor of International Nutrition and Senior Advisor at the Global Health Institute at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, USA. Martorell is also a member of the Flour Fortification Initiative (FFI) Executive Management Team. Adding minerals and vitamins during the process The type of fortification Martorell refers to is adding vitamins and minerals during the industrial milling process so that consumers will have more nutrients in their staple foods. Flour is commonly fortified to prevent nutritional anemia and neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida. Rice fortification presents a largely untapped opportunity. Since beginning in 2002, FFI has focused on industrially milled wheat flour with some efforts in maize fortification. The work is expanding to include fortification of industri- ally milled rice because it has the poten- tial to affect billions of people, said Scott Montgomery, FFI Director. The highest concentrations of people with anemia, and countries with some of the highest estimates of pregnancies affected by neural tube defects, are in south Asia and West Africa. In these areas, rice is often the most commonly consumed cereal grain. Consequently several international groups are accelerating efforts to fortify rice. The World Food Programme, for exam- ple, regularly includes fortified rice in its food distribution programs. The international non-profit groups PATH, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and the Micronutrient Initiative are also working on projects related to rice fortification. The 2011 percentage of non-pregnant women worldwide with anemia represents 528 million women. For comparison, that is more than eight times the total population of the United Kingdom. Anemia leads to fatigue which lowers productivity. It limits a child’s ability to learn and the child never regains that mental capacity. Anemia can even cause maternal deaths. Three technologies Anemia can be caused by multiple factors such as chronic infections and parasites, but a common cause is deficiency in iron and other nutrients. In the United States, for example, add- ing folic acid to enriched grains has virtually eliminated anemia caused by vitamin B9 defi- ciency in older adults. Fortifying with folic acid, a form of vitamin B9, has also been estimated to prevent 38,417 neural tube birth defects in one year, for an average of 105 healthier babies a day. Three primary technologies are used to fortify rice: extrusion, coating, and dusting. Extrusion involves making dough from rice flour and nutrients then putting the dough through an extruder to make rice-shaped kernels. This can be done at various tem- peratures. Coating requires spraying rice with a mix of vitamins and minerals plus ingredients such as waxes and gums that help the nutri- ents adhere to the rice. The fortified kernels are then blended with unfortified rice, usually at ratios between 1:50 and 1:200. Rice is sometimes fortified by dusting it with a powdery mix of vitamins and miner- als. Dusting is not appropriate in cultures where rice is rinsed or cooked in water that is discarded as these steps will wash off the added nutrients. Extruded or coated rice kernels are considered premix, and this must be identi- cal to unfortified rice. In many cultures, rice preparation includes picking out kernels that do not conform in color, shape, or texture. Consequently, for fortified rice to be effec- Global leaders hoping to fight anemia with rice fortification by Sarah Zimmerman, Communications Coordinator, Food Fortification Initiative (formerly the Flour Fortification Initiative) Table 1 – Top 25 countries in rice available per capita Country Rice Available (grams per person per day) Population (in thousands) Bangladesh 475 147,030 Lao People's Democratic Republic 454 6,112 Cambodia 439 13,978 Viet Nam 387 86,901 Myanmar 386 47,601 Thailand 365 68,706 Indonesia 349 237,414 Philippines 338 91,703 Guinea 290 9,761 Madagascar 289 20,124 Sri Lanka 284 20,669 Guinea-Bissau 271 1,484 Liberia 263 3,836 Sierra Leone 253 5,739 Guyana 224 753 Korea, Republic of 223 47,964 Nepal 218 29,433 Brunei Darussalam 211 392 Korea, Democratic People's Republic 209 24,238 China 209 1,342,428 Malaysia 203 27,949 Senegal 196 12,107 Comoros 188 716 India 187 1,207,740 Suriname 186 520 Population total (in thousands) 3,455,298 Population figures from the United Nations Population Division Grain availability from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations These fortified rice kernels are made with a high concentration of vitamins and minerals. They are blended with unfortified rice then packaged for consumers. Buhler Group photo. Fortification 14 | May - June 2014 GRAIN&FEED MILLING TECHNOLOGYF
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  5. 5. tive, the premix needs to meet the consum- ers’ expectations for how rice should look, taste, and smell. FFI recently reviewed published litera- ture about rice fortification. Ten studies in controlled environments compared a vari- ety of health outcomes between individuals who received fortified rice and those who received non-fortified rice. These studies were conducted in the Philippines, Brazil, Nepal, Mexico, India, and Thailand, and typically used extrusion rice technology. Rice was fortified with nutrients including iron, folic acid, thiamin, niacin, vita- min A, and vitamin B12. Some of the health outcomes investigated included anemia, iron deficiency, body iron stores, plasma ferritin, and plasma retinol. The results included: • Four of the eight studies that investigated anemia found statistically significant declines in anemia prevalence. • Five of the six studies that investigated iron deficiency observed statistically significant reductions in the fortified rice group. • Two of two studies observed statistically significant improvements in body iron stores. • Five of seven studies observed statistically significant increases in plasma ferritin. • One of six studies observed statistically significant increases in plasma retinol. The challenge now is making rice for- tification feasible for entire populations so that more people have access to these health benefits. Rice fortification is most easily implemented in modern mills with a production capacity of at least 5 metric tons an hour. Rice can also be fortified in large distribution channels such as government programs. The cost of fortification The cost of rice fortification varies greatly based on the type of fortification technol- ogy used, whether fortified rice is produced locally or procured from another source, and the ratio of premix blended with unfortified rice. A facility which produces rice premix may need an initial capital investment of US$0.3 million, US$0.75, or US$4 million for coating, cold extrusion or hot extrusion technology, respectively. Alternatively, rice premix can be ordered from another source then blend- ed with unfortified rice. That option requires the on-going costs of shipping fortified rice from the premix plant to the blending facility. On-going costs to fortify depend in part on the number of nutrients included. Rice fortification costs range from US$6 to US$20 per metric ton of rice fortified with iron, folic acid, vitamin A, thiamine, niacin, vitamin B12, and zinc. The cost range assumes the rice premix is blended with unfortified rice at a ratio of 1:100. At that ratio, the consumers' price increase is estimated to be between 2% to 5% of the current retail price. Rice fortification is considered economi- cally feasible if the population consumes at least 100 grams per capita per day. The 25 countries with the highest amounts of rice available for human consumption, according to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, have a combined population of 3.4 billion (See Table 1). Yet of these, only the Philippines has mandatory rice fortification. Other countries with legislation to require rice fortification are Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, and Papua New Guinea. Like any new intervention, rice forti- fication faces multiple challenges before it reaches large-scale implementation. The potential health impact justifies continuing efforts to make rice fortification feasible. More inforMation FFI Website: about/faq/faq_rice_industry.html About the author: Sarah Zimmerman is the Communications Coordinator for the Flour Fortification Initiative (FFI) which offers advocacy and technical support to countries as they plan, imple- ment, and monitor grain fortification programs. With a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Sarah wrote stories for daily newspapers and marketing pieces for private-sector organizations before joining FFI in 2008. May - June 2014 | 15GRAIN&FEED MILLING TECHNOLOGY ANDRITZ Feed & Biofuel A/S Europe, Asia, and South America: USA and Canada: Your global technology process supplier for the animal feed industry ANDRITZ is one of the world’s leading suppliers of techno­ logies, systems, and services relating to advanced industri­ al equipment for the animal feed industry. With an in-depth knowledge of each key process, we can supply a compatible and homogeneous solution from raw material intake to finished feed bagging. F
  6. 6. LINKS • See the full issue • Visit the GFMT website • Contact the GFMT Team • Subscribe to GFMT A subscription magazine for the global flour & feed milling industries - first published in 1891 INCORPORATING PORTS, DISTRIBUTION AND FORMULATION In this issue: • Role of extruders in Halal food production • Fortification Fortification in rice and flour • IAOM 118th Annual Conference & Expo May-June2014 • GM soybeans The on-farm facts • Harvest conditions: wheat quality and addressing issues • The Mills Archive GFMT becomes a patron first published in 1891 This digital Re-print is part of the May | June 2014 edition of Grain & Feed Milling Technology magazine. Content from the magazine is available to view free-of-charge, both as a full online magazine on our website, and as an archive of individual features on the docstoc website. Please click here to view our other publications on To purchase a paper copy of the magazine, or to subscribe to the paper edi- tion please contact our Circulation and Subscriptions Manager on the link adove. INFORMATION FOR ADVERTISERS - CLICK HERE Article reprints All Grain & Feed Milling Tecchnology feature articles can be re-printed as a 4 or 8 page booklets (these have been used as point of sale materials, promotional materials for shows and exhibitions etc). If you are interested in getting this article re-printed please contact the GFMT team for more informa- tion on - Tel: +44 1242 267707 - Email: or visit