BENGALURU: MID-DAY meals in schools across the state are all set to pack a powerful punch. Schoolchildren will soon get meals fortified with iron, folic acid and Vitamin B-12.
At present, the only salt in midday meals is double fortified with iron and iodine. Now, the Union Human Resource Development Ministry has asked states to compulsorily fortify other food items like edible oil and wheat flour.
A senior official of the mid-day meal scheme told Express, “As we are getting food items through Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies, it needs to be discussed with the department authorities. The communication which we have received will be forwarded to the department concerned.”
In its communication to all state governments, the ministry highlighted about how a deficiency of micro nutrients affects the health and development of children.
“The main contributor to health problems is an iron deficiency which can reduce the cognitive ability of children. Children in India are found to be deficient in iron as well as iodine which may cause anaemia and goitre. A child suffering from micronutrient deficiencies finds it difficult to concentrate and work on a sustainable basis,” it said.
Currently, the state government provides iron supplements once a week in the form of iron and folic acid tablets to children from Classes 6 to 10. It spends `8 crores per year for this purpose.