Rice Fortification in Developing Countries A Critical Review of the Technical and Economic Feasibility

Under a cooperative agreement with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Academy for Educational Development (AED) collaborated with the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) to conduct a four-country assessment of rice fortification with a review of production and fortification techniques in China, Costa Rica, The Philippines and the United States.

April 1, 2008

April 2008

Page 1This publication is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the terms of Cooperative Agreement No. GHS-A-00-05-00012-00. The contents are the responsibility of the Academy for Educational Development and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

A2Z Project Academy for Educational Development 1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20009

Edited by:
Sajid Alavi, Ph.D. Kansas State University Manhattan, Kansas
Betty Bugusu, Ph.D., Institute of Food Technologists, Washington, DC.
Gail Cramer, Ph.D., Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Omar Dary, Ph.D. Academy for Educational Development Washington, DC.
Tung-Ching Lee, Ph.D. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey New Brunswick, New Jersey
Luann Martin, MA Academy for Educational Development Washington, DC.
Jennifer McEntire, Ph.D. Institute of Food Technologists Washington, DC.
Eric Wailes, Ph.D. University of Arkansas Fayetteville, Arkansas


The two teams that conducted the country visits are deeply grateful to the local collaborators who facilitated the visits to various companies, government agencies, and other stakeholders, and to the individuals who shared information and their perspectives on food fortification during interviews with the teams.

In China, the team was received by Ying Ching, DSM; Professor Jian Huang, Professor Chunming Chen, Professor Junsheng Huo, Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and Professor Z. Jin, Southern Yangtze University. Professor Rui Yuan Wang, Mr. Wenling Bai, Ms. Danpi Song of the China National Cereal and Oils Association (CCOA) and China National Association of Grain Sector; Ms. Suru Li and Mr. Jun Feng of the China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporate (COFCO) and Food Sales Distribution Co., Ltd; Dr. Ted Greiner, PATH, and Mr. Bruno Kistner, DSM/Buhler also provided valuable information.

In the Philippines, Dr. Cora Barba, Resident Advisor for the A2Z program, organized the visits. Those interviewed included: Joshua Ramos, Deputy Director of the Bureau of Foods and Drugs of the Department of Health; Hector Maglalang, Food Fortification Consultant, and Anton Sayo, Public-Private Sector Consultant for A2Z; Ludivico Jarina, Deputy Director and Arlene Tanseco of the National Food Authority; Dr. Alicia O. Lustre of the Food Development Center of the National Food Authority; Mario Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI); and Dr. Gerald Barry of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI); Mr. Patrick Hsu, Superlative Foods; Mr. Joey and Ms. Cristina Go, CLG Foods.

In Costa Rica, the team met with Marianella Méndez Corrales, Hector Cori, and Roberto Viquez of DSM Nutritional Products; Jorge Viquez Jimenez, Executive President, Carlos Gonzalez Marroquin and Jorge Guido Delgado of Vigui; personnel of Industry Miramar; José Francisco Solera, the Grupo NTQ; Dr. Luis Tacsan Chen, Director, and Dr. Melany Ascencio, Nutritionist, of the Research and Technological Development in Health at the Ministry of Health; and Dr. Thelma Alfaro, Head, Micronutrient Reference Center, Dr. Patricia Allen, and Dr. Elena Compos of the Costa Rican Institute of Research and Teaching in Nutrition and Health (INCIENSA by its acronym in Spanish).

In the United States, the team interviewed Monte White, President and CEO, and Patrick Clark, Vice President, Sales & Marketing for Research Products Inc., in Salina, Kansas; Sam Wright, President, Wright Enrichment Inc.; and Keith L. Hargrove, Vice President of Manufacturing and Technology, and Mr. Ken Cox, Farmers’ Rice Cooperative, Sacramento, California.


AED Academy for Educational Development
CDC Centers for Disease Control
COFCO China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporate
EAR estimated average requirement
FRC Farmers’ Rice Cooperative
FNRI-DOST Food and Nutrition Research Institute-Dept. of Science and Technology (Philippines)
IFR iron-fortified rice
IRP iron-rice premix
IFT Institute of Food Technologists
NFA National Food Authority (Philippines)
PNDC Public Nutrition and Development Center (China)
RPC Research Products Company


A2Z: The USAID Micronutrient and Child Blindness Project collaborated with the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) to conduct an assessment of rice fortification in China, Costa Rica, the Philippines, and the United States. These countries illustrate various contexts for rice fortification including high versus low per capita rice consumption, net exporter versus net importer of rice, mandatory versus voluntary fortification, and national scale versus limited fortification. Two-person teams (an agricultural economist and a food technologist) visited the study countries in 2007 and met with industry and government representatives and other stakeholders. The objectives of the assessment were to:

  • establish a baseline of rice fortification practices, industrial requirements, and the needed investment and recurrent costs for rice manufacturers; and
  • assess the technical and economical feasibility and the implications of the introduction of rice fortification in developing countries.

Rice Fortification Technologies and Characteristics of the Fortified Rice

The teams observed four types of rice fortification technology:

  1. Hot extrusion passes dough made of rice flour, a fortificant mix, and water through a single or twin screw extruder and cuts it into grain-like structures that resemble rice kernels. This process involves relatively high temperatures (70-110oC) obtained by preconditioning and/or heat transfer through steam heated barrel jackets. It results in fully or partially pre-cooked simulated rice kernels that have similar appearance (sheen and transparency) as regular rice kernels. The teams visited two companies in China and one in the Philippines that used this technology.
  2. Cold extrusion, a process similar to one used for manufacturing pastas, also produces rice-shaped simulated kernels by passing a dough made of rice four, a fortificant mix, and water through a simple pasta press. This technology does not utilize any additional thermal energy input other than the heat generated during the process itself, and is primarily a low temperature (below 70oC), forming process resulting in grains that are uncooked, opaque, and easier to differentiate from regular rice kernels. One of the firms visited in Costa Rica uses this process.
  3. Coating combines the fortificant mix with ingredients such as waxes and gums. The mixture is sprayed to the rice on the surface of grain kernels in several layers to form the rice-premix and then is blended with polished rice. Manufacturers in Costa Rica, the Philippines, and the United States use this process.
  4. Dusting, observed only in the U.S., involves dusting the polished rice grains with the powder form of the micronutrient premix. The fortificants stick to the grain surface because of electrostatic forces.