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A breakthrough in rice fortification

NutriRice™: Recomposed, vitamin and mineral enriched rice kernels formed by hot extrusion of rice flour, thereby protecting the incorporated vitamins and minerals.
Indian boys and girls running cheerful through a rice field

The new technology developed by DSM and Buhler produces rice kernels that are indistinguishable from unfortified rice in looks and taste, and are still highly nutritious after cooking.

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NutriRice™ characteristics in brief:

  • Looks, tastes and cooks exactly like ordinary rice;
  • Fortified kernels deliver the added micronutrients to the consumer as intended;
  • Kernels can be customized in shape, color, and micronutrient composition.

A breakthrough in rice fortification

Rice fortification presents numerous technical problems. Micronutrients cannot simply be added to the kernels, because they do not stay where they are needed. The traditional soaking and rinsing of rice with water prior to cooking removes most of the added nutrients.

In the past, addition of reconstituted, fortified rice kernels to normal rice proved unsatisfactory, because consumers saw the added kernels as a «contamination», and removed them. To overcome these difficulties, DSM and Buhler prepare the fortified kernels by a hot extrusion method with encapsulated micronutrients.

The fortified kernels look, taste and behave exactly like normal rice; the nutrients embedded in the kernel are efficiently protected from external influences during washing and cooking. The process uses low-cost broken rice as raw material, and kernels can be made to customers’ specific requirements of shape, color and nutrient content.

Ensure adequate intakes of vitamins and minerals

To guarantee an appropriate intake of the vitamins and minerals needed for good health, NutriRice fortified kernels are mixed with natural rice in a ratio of 1:100 or 2:100. This results in a product of excellent physical stability, in which the added nutrients are retained in adequate amounts during storage, washing and cooking. Compared with rice fortified by any other method, NutriRice is a better source of essential micronutrients.

Proven efficacy and effectiveness of NutriRice™

Better performance at the Dandelion Middle School, Beijing

The children of 600 migrant workers attend Dandelion Middle School in Beijing, some of them as resident pupils. As part of a pilot project initiated and carried out by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) all the pupils were given NutriRice for a period of eight months. Their food was further supplemented with vitamin-A-enriched oil and iron-enriched soy sauce.

"We found that the effects of micronutrient deficiencies were reduced by 50%, raising the pupils’ general nutritional condition to the average urban level, and the teachers observed an improvement in physical performance and concentration."

Dr. Hong Zheng, founder of the Dandelion Middle School.

Efficacy trial in Bangalore, India

In a poor urban setting in Bangalore, India, DSM collaborated with the St. John’s Research Institute to conduct a trial to study the effects of NutriRice on school children aged 6-12 years.

After six months the positive impact of NutriRice was clearly evident. Specifically, the children’s B-vitamin status had improved significantly and there was an improvement in physical performance, particularly physical endurance, among the children who consumed NutriRice.

Can using fortified rice in WFP's school meals programme be the game changer in the fight against malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, particularly among primary school-aged children? A nine-month study to be conducted in 20 schools in Cambodia's Kampong Speu province is set to give us the answer.
Source: WFP website

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