Boosting Vitamins into Kids Immune System! ‘Fortified Rice’ in Mid-Day Meals by Akshaya Patra
- The Vision of Akshaya Patra is “No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger.”
Mangaluru: Addressing the media persons, Thirumal Rao, Akshaya Patra Foundation, Bengaluru at a press meet held at Mangalore Press Club said, “The Akshaya Patra Foundation in Mangaluru started its activities during 2005 and is presently distributing mid-day meals to 14,260 children in 135 schools covering Mangaluru and Bantwal taluks of Dakshina Kannada district. This program of the central government and the state government of Karnataka is being implemented by The Akshaya Patra Foundation successfully in Mangaluru. The Akshaya Patra Foundation proposes to enrich the rice delivered to children under its jurisdiction from this year. We are mixing the fortified rice kernels in the rice (rice fortification) which includes Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Folic acid and Iron. This enrichment of rice with essential micronutrients helps in the all-round development of the child.”
Speaking on Rice Fortification, Rahul Thripati, representative PATH Foundation who are promoting this initiative said, “What is Rice Fortification? It is Enrichment of rice with essential micronutrients post harvesting to increase its nutritional value; Rice is fortified with Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Folic acid and Iron; Fortified Rice Kernels (FRK): Rice shaped kernels, made of rice flour, fortified with the vitamins & minerals mix; Fortified Rice Kernels (FRK) is added to normal rice in ratio 1:100 resulting in fortified rice nearly identical to traditional rice in aroma, taste, and texture. It is then distributed for regular consumption.”
“Why Rice Fortification? In India 70% of people do not consume enough micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals; About 70% of preschool children suffer from anemia caused by Iron deficiency and 57% of preschool children have subclinical Vitamin A deficiency; It is estimated that 50 70% of these birth defects are preventable. One of the major causes is the deficiency of Folic Acid. Thus, deficiency of micronutrients or micronutrient malnutrition, also known as “hidden hunger”, is a serious health risk. Often, there is considerable loss of nutrients during the processing of food. One of the strategies to address this problem is the fortification of food; This method complements other ways to improve nutrition such as diversification of diet and supplementation of food” added Rahul.
Rahul Tripathi further said, “Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are essential for many functions and health Vitamins and Minerals that are only needed in small amounts, but are essential for: Normal growth; Good health; Normal brain growth; Healthy ageing; Good performance; Strengthening immune system; Healthy babies They cannot be produced by the body and have to come from the diet. Frequently asked questions (FAQ): Will cooking change the appearance, texture or taste of the fortified rice? A: The effects of cooking on fortified rice are the same as the effects of cooking on regular rice. Therefore, it has the same appearance texture and taste as regular cooked rice. Q: Will there be nutrient losses when fortified rice is rinsed before cooking? A: Current fortification technologies available allow rice to be cooked in excess water, without significant nutrient losses. Q: How about the nutrient losses when fortified rice is cooked in excess water and that water is drained? A: Current fortification technologies available allow rice to be cooked in excess water, without significant nutrient losses. Q: Is it safe for children to eat fortified foods every day? A: Children would especially benefit from consuming fortified foods every day as their daily requirements for vitamins and minerals are higher, to be able to support physical growth and the development of new tissue “.
Nandanacharya Das, Manager-Operations Akshaya Patra Foundation, Mangaluru; Nikhilatma Das, Akshaya Patra Foundation, Mangaluru (who delivered the vote of thanks); and Shashikala, Akshaya Patra Foundation, Mangaluru (who delivered the welcome address) were also present on the dais during the press meet.
Following the press meet, in the afternoon on the same day, the inauguration of Fortification Program was held at 2 PM at Mijar Govind Pai Memorial Hall, Canara High School, Urva, Mangaluru under the Chairmanship of Sri Karunya Sagar Das President of ISKCON and Akshaya Patra Foundation, Mangaluru. Chief guest Padmabhushan Dr B M Hegde symbolically inaugurated the model of Fortification Rice Blending machine. He gave a call for giving education in Kannada medium and he also remembered his childhood days being a Kannada medium student. He stressed the importance of fortified food for pregnant women and children. He also praised Akshaya Patra for having implemented the Mid Day Meal program successfully.
Meenakshi Shanthigodu President of DK Zilla Panchayat praised Akshaya Patra for providing quality food to Govt. and aided school children of Mangaluru and Bantwal taluks. Yogish Bhat, Ex-Deputy Speaker of Legislative Assembly opined that the Mid Day Meal program implemented by Akshaya Patra Foundation is found to be very useful. Vinay Kumar, Director- Operations Akshaya Patra, Bengaluru made a power point presentation about the fortification of rice.
Nandanacharya Das, Manager-Operations, Akshaya Patra, Mangaluru, Anil Charakupally of PATH Foundation and Yashodhara- Assistant Director of Akshara Dasoha, DK Zilla Panchayat were also present. The Students of DK Zilla Panchayat Gandhi Nagar Higher Primary School, Mangaluru presented a Skit “Save and Develop Government Kannada Schools”.
Thirumal Rao of Akshaya Patra Foundation, Bengaluru compered the program. Shashikala of Akshaya Patra Foundation, Mangaluru delivered the Welcome Speech and Sachita of Akshaya Patra Foundation, Mangaluru delivered the Vote of Thanks.