Rice is the staple cereal for more than half of the world’s population and is a major source of energy due to the high level of carbohydrates. Rice also contains micronutrients such as folic acid, thiamine, iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Rice grains are collected from paddy farms and milled to separate the rice kernels from the outermost bran layer. The milling process diminishes the level of essential nutrients in the rice kernel as these nutrients are concentrated near the bran layer. This milling leaves rice void of essential micronutrients and makes for nothing more than a high calorie diet.

The Need For Rice Fortification

Due to its widespread consumption, it is beneficial to enhance the nutrient content through rice fortification. Rice fortification gives these people additional access to key micronutrients in their diets, such as thiamine, iron, and vitamin B12. This helps combat the most common deficiencies such as neural tube defects, anemia, night blindness, and pernicious anemia. Rice fortification has the best chance to fill the nutritional gap for large populations. In India for example, 65% of the population consumes rice as a staple food.

Types of Rice Fortification

There are three main approaches to rice fortification:

1. Dusting the rice with a premix

2. Coating kernels with a premix

3. Using extruded fortified kernels mixed with non-fortified kernels

Extrusion is the preferred method because it makes for the most stable micronutrients after the rice is processed, stored, washed, and cooked. It is also the most cost effective of the three methods.

Extruded Rice as Rice Fortification

Extruded rice is a common form of fortified rice. It can be stored for one year and the nutrients will stay intact within the grains. The appropriate choice of fortificants and their salt form plays a major role in the stability of rice fortification. Rice fortification is a complex process involving the following steps.

Removing stones and impurities from rice grains

● Grinding rice grains to form rice flour

● Mixing a micronutrient premix with the flour

● Passing the mix through water at a temperature of 60 degrees celsius to form a dough

● Exposing the dough to steam to remove excess moisture

● Extruding the dough to resemble the shape of rice kernels

● Mixing fortified kernels with normal rice kernels at a rate ranging from 1:50 to 1:200

The ideal rate is 1:100 or 1:99

Are There Any Dangers in Extruded Rice Fortification?

Fortified rice can be cooked and consumed just like regular rice. There is virtually no taste, aroma, or texture difference. The quantity of fortified kernels is quite low and the fortified kernels cook the same way unfortified kernels do.

Where Can I Get More Advice About Rice Fortification?

Hexagon Nutrition offers a wide range of micronutrient premixes that are compatible with rice and cereal flour. We have the experience to know what nutrients are best in rice and which salt forms you should use. Please contact us for more information.