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Field-Suitable rapid test documented for rice fortification

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by Sarah Zimmermann, Food Fortification Initiative

is also fortified, FFI recommends using the rice procedure that wo rapid qualitative procedures to results in dark red kernels. This test uses the same chemicals detect iron-fortified rice kernels have that are used for a qualitative test for fortified wheat flour. If a been validated and documented for use in non-laboratory settings. For example, country requires fortification of both wheat flour and rice, then the regulatory monitoring staff will be able to use the same customs inspectors can use either of chemicals. these procedures to test rice imports For the research, FFI received fortified rice kernels from five without holding cargo while waiting producers. These kernels were blended with unfortified rice for lab results. Regulatory monitoring produced in the United States to create fortified rice. The two personnel can also use these techniques tests that were found suitable for field use were successful with with domestically produced fortified rice. fortified kernels made via hot extrusion, warm extrusion, and The newly documented procedures are simple tools that coating. can be used regardless of how the fortified rice kernels are Fortified rice is a blend of fortified and unfortified kernels. produced. They do not require complicated equipment or precise The blend ratio is usually one fortified kernel per 100 or 200 measurements. The chemicals can be stored safely and used unfortified kernels. Rice can also be fortified by dusting a vitamin without the need for hazardous waste disposal systems. and mineral powder on all of the milled rice. However, the Companies that produce fortified rice kernels have used a rapid, nutrients are easily washed off, and dusting is not recommended qualitative procedure for internal quality control and quality in countries where people usually wash rice before cooking. assurance for some time. However these testing techniques were Another consideration in this research was cost. The procedures often developed for the company’s specific product or were not do not require special equipment, so the main cost is purchasing intended for non-laboratory settings. the required chemicals. The supply of hydrochloric acid and From these existing methods, the Food Fortification Initiative potassium thiocyanate for this project cost US$ 433 and (FFI) identified two procedures that are suitable for non-laboratory amounted to US$ 0.02 per test. settings. Both rely on chemical reactions with iron to change FFI also evaluated the procedures for safety and simplicity. the color of the iron-fortified kernels. FFI successfully used one Researchers scored each potential procedure for the safety of procedure in a regulatory monitoring training workshop in the the required chemicals, ease of obtaining the chemicals, and Solomon Islands in August 2015 and demonstrated it during the the amount of expertise required to conduct the procedures. Global Summit on Food Fortification in September 2015. Hydrochloric acid, usually a dangerous chemical, is used in both The field-use versions of both procedures take less than five minutes. Costs and safety considerations are equitable The two newly documented rapid procedures for rice fortification depend on a chemical for both. One uses diluted reaction with iron in fortified kernels. One procedure makes the fortified kernels dark red; hydrochloric acid and the other makes the fortified kernels dark blue. potassium thiocyanate and turns iron-fortified kernels red. The other uses diluted hydrochloric acid and potassium fericyanide or ferrocyanide and turns ironfortified kernels dark blue. In countries where flour

48 | November 2015 - Milling and Grain

Nov 2015 - Milling and Grain magazine  
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