Fortified Rice is a special rice variety developed in response to the demand for healthier rice products. The cereal is fortified with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. In simple terms, food fortification is usually a simple procedure: either liquid or dry micro nutritional premix is mixed into a main staple food, for example, salt, flour, or oil in a given amount. Production of fortified rice, though, is technically much more complicated.
One challenge in the production of fortified rice is the inherent irregularity of its kneading process. It has long been thought that the way to ensure consistent gluten formation is to heat the grains prior to mashing them. Although that might be applicable in some cases, like when rice flour is toasted just before making a mousetrap, most commercial rice flour varieties are heat-treated for a longer period of time. Moreover, the heat treatment does not guarantee that gluten will be formed at all. For instance, even when the heat treatment is performed to a grain’s end, there is still a possibility that gluten will not be created. This is because gluten protein molecules are extremely large, and they have the tendency to vibrate when they come in contact with an external temperature.
In response to this problem, a new technique was developed for rice fortification, one that guarantees gluten formation regardless of the external temperature. Rice flour seeds are heat-treated just like regular rice flour so that it can be transformed into micronutrients. These micronutrients are then transformed into nutrients like iron, zinc, and calcium.
Another challenge in production of fortified rice is its shelf-life. Because it has been heat-treated, it might be exposed to moisture, which could shorten its shelf-life. To solve this problem, manufacturers of frk products use a moisture barrier on the surface of the grains. They also make use of a special coating, called flashings, on the surface of the grains. Other techniques are also used, but these techniques can affect the nutritional value of the finished product.
Fortified rice is available in many forms. Some variants include: instant, flavored, or non-flavored. Instant and flavored varieties are typically low in fat and contain higher levels of vitamins and minerals than non-flavored varieties. Non-flavored varieties are usually highly processed and contain less nutrients. In some Asian markets, unrefined dry whole-rice powder is also available as a health and fitness product.
Production of fortified rice is high in Asian countries, especially in China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. The main challenges in making this product involve the production of higher-quality grains, maintaining quality control, reducing costs, and meeting governmental dietary requirements. For example, in Japan, milled rice is preferred over wet-rice. In China, it is more practical to use milled rice than unrefined rice for bulk manufacturing and end-to-end packaging, as wet-rice contains more nutrients. Thus, fortification of grains is important for those who want to improve the nutritional value of their products.
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