For the motion:
Food fortification is defined as the practice of adding vitamins and minerals to commonly consumed foods during processing to increase their nutritional value. It is a proven, safe and cost-effective strategy for improving diets and for the prevention and control of micronutrient deficiencies. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has formulated a comprehensive regulation on fortification of foods namely ‘Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2016. These regulations set the standards for food fortification and encourage the production, manufacture, distribution, sale and consumption of fortified foods.
Fortification does not require changes in existing food patterns, nor individual compliance – which are very difficult to achieve. Fortification is often more cost-effective than other strategies, especially in case the technology already exists and an appropriate food distribution system is already in place (like in India). In a country like India where a change in lifestyle is the need of the hour, food fortification is playing an important role in pushing boundaries, by providing more for less. The process is slowly but steadily changing food habits and is helping a nation widely devoid of nutritional food to tackle the issues.
So yes, a push for food fortification will certainly address India’s problem of malnutrition.
Against the motion:
Of late, global concerns have been raised as to whether these fortified foods are truly safe and whether they can cause the body to over accumulate nutrients, ultimately causing more harm than good. According to a report submitted by the Environmental Working Group in June 2014, some food products may contain fortified nutrients in amounts much greater than the levels deemed safe. As feared by many, fortified foods like snack bars and cereals that may be consumed by young children have put them at risk of consuming vitamin A, zinc and niacin more than what is necessary.
Food fortification tends not only to be expensive for people from low and middle-income backgrounds, but the government is unable to provide the poorer parts of the populace a daily meal and basic nutrition much less fortified meals three times a day and ultimately, malnutrition in the country cannot be stopped if the fortified foods cannot even reach those who desperately need it.