World Milk Day (established by Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations) is observed by people all over the world on June 1st, every year to celebrate the important contributions of the dairy sector to sustainability, economic development, livelihoods, and nutrition. World Milk Day celebration offers a perfect opportunity to spread the message about adding milk to your daily diet to make it balanced.
Food Fortification Resource Centre (FFRC), housed in FSSAI, observed the “World Milk Day” commemorating the theme “Raise a Glass – Say “Cheers” with Fortified Milk. The event was held to create awareness around food fortification and the cost-effective benefits it offers to everyone without a change in food habits.
Vitamin A deficiency is already a public health concern and the growing Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in the Indian subcontinent, with an occurrence of 70%–100% in the general population. (Source: US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health). The only source of Vitamin D is sunlight exposure from (11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.), mushrooms, fatty fish, etc. To bring about a change in the present situation, FFRC, in collaboration with Tata Trusts, World Bank, NDDB, and GAIN, plans to take forward, fortification of milk with vitamins D and A.
Fortification of milk with Vitamins A and D is a cost-effective and sustainable strategy to address the rising incidences of DVDs among Indians. It not only deals with the problem of micronutrient malnutrition effectively but has several other benefits for the consumers. Fortification of staple foods does not require people to change their dietary habits; it does not affect the taste, smell or color of the fortified food and has a widespread reach amongst the vulnerable groups. To help consumers in identifying fortified food through just a glance, a Logo known as “+F” for fortified foods has been notified by FSSAI for Fortified food
products. FFRC is working to scale up the process of milk fortification in India by engaging FBOs, States and ensuring the supply of fortified milk through government programmes namely ICDS, MDM, and PDS.
Pawan Agarwal, a CEO, FSSAI, stated that “Milk is an integral part of our daily balanced diets and World Milk Day is the perfect time to create awareness around the importance of consuming fortified milk among the general public. Opting for milk that is fortified with vitamins A and D is an effective means to inculcate healthy eating habits and create awareness around VDD which is prevalent in both young children and adults, equally.” He pointed out that “opting for fortified foods (with +F symbol) is a simple and inexpensive way to address micronutrient deficiencies without any radical change in behavior or eating patterns.” On the occasion of World Milk Day, he urged people to pledge for “Eating Right; Eating Fortified” mentioning that fortified foods are now readily available across the country.
The event saw several engaging activities that were intended to generate strong public interest and participation. Activation in three of Delhi-NCRs most frequented malls, namely; Select City Walk, Saket, GIP, Noida and Ambience, Gurgaon with mascots created by FSSAI, Master and Miss Sehat, educated people on the importance of fortified milk, various child-centric activities like face painting, tattoo making, quiz competition for adults etc. were carried out to encourage consumption of milk every day were some of the major attractions of the day. Informative standees on Mother Dairy and DMS outlets throughout Delhi were placed to inform consumers about the benefits of fortified milk.
FFRC has an ongoing social media engagement plan to encourage consumers to buy and drink fortified food products every day. The event saw an overwhelming response from people who actively participated in event-related activities. Sharing their experiences, most parents stated that “The event has been a great source in educating us about the importance of giving our children and other family members, only fortified milk. +F all the way!
Observing the enthusiastic participation of citizens and partners alike, FFRC believes that this event will further the importance of making fortified milk a part of people’s day-to-day lives.
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