Use of Iron as a Fortificant in Whole-Wheat Flour and Leavened Flat Bread in Developing Countries
Faqir Muhammad Anjum,
Among various nutritional strategies to combat iron deficiency, fortification of food is generally considered to be the best and cost effective long-term strategy. Iron is a key micronutrient and an integral part of haemoglobin, required for the transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide in blood. Among the cereals, which the ability of being successfully fortified with iron, wheat has additional advantage to be used as a vehicle. The bioavailability of iron added to wheat is several times greater than other staple foods such as maize and rice. As breads and leavened flat bread are the major portion of routine diet of a large number of population segments in developing countries, so wheat could be used as a vehicle for iron fortification, as the fortification of iron in flour does not show any direct effect on product quality and taste and also it is a low cost staple routine diet. Reduced or elemental iron and FeEDTA do not react with fat in flour and thus do not promote rancidity. The stability of different forms of iron depends on various factors including the nature of the food it is added to, the particle size and the exposure to heat and air. Among the various forms of iron, ferrous sulphate has excellent bioavailability. It is the fortificant of choice when used in bakery flour and other types of low extraction wheat flours and is the best iron source because of its high bioavailability and low cost. Iron fortification of wheat flour and its bakes products is steadily expanding around the world and is expected to remain so with the intend to combat in the battle against the global health problem of iron deficiency anaemia.
Keywords: Iron fortification, fortified flour, leavened flat bread, flour as fortification vehicle
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