Stability of Vitamin A, Iron and Zinc in Fortified Rice during Storage and Its Impact on Future National Standards and Programs–Case Study in Cambodia.
Fortified rice holds great potential for bringing essential micronutrients to a large part of the world population. The present study quantified the losses of three different micronutrients (vitamin A, iron, zinc) in fortified rice that were produced using three different techniques (hot extrusion, cold extrusion, and coating) and stored at two different environments (25 ± 5 °C at a humidity of 60% and 40 ± 5 °C at a humidity of 75%) for up to one year. Fortified rice premix from the different techniques was mixed with normal rice in a 1:100 ratio. Each sample was analyzed in triplicate. The study confirmed the high stability of iron and zinc during storage while the retention of vitamin A was significantly affected by storage and the type of techniques used to make rice premix. Losses for iron and zinc were typically <10% for any type of rice premix. After 12 months at mild conditions (25 °C and humidity of 60%), losses for vitamin A ranged from 20% for cold extrusion, 30% for hot extruded rice 77% for coated rice premix. At higher temperatures and humidity, losses of vitamin A were 40%-50% for extruded premix and 93% for coated premix after 6 months. We conclude that storage does lead to a major loss of vitamin A and question whether rice is a suitable food vehicle to fortify with vitamin A. For Cambodia, fortification of rice with iron and zinc could be an effective strategy to improve the micronutrient status of the population if no other food vehicles are available.