To describe miller and public sector experiences and perspectives on rice fortification in Colombia and offer recommendations for policy makers.
Interviews with Colombian rice millers, research and development personnel, and public sector leaders; desk review of key documents.
In Colombia, rice fortification is market-driven, and rice has been voluntarily fortified since 2002 by a few very large rice millers, currently representing about 35% of the market. The technology used (spraying) is unique to Colombia and millers acknowledge high nutrient loss during washing and cooking. No government body oversees adequate nutrient levels or retention. Millers are unwilling to switch to more proven methods such as extrusion or coating that will incur higher capital investment and recurring costs, due to internal and external competitive pressures. Despite interest from multiple stakeholders between 2002 and 2011, rice fortification is not part of the Colombian government policy as of July 2015.
Rice fortified through spraying technology has achieved moderate coverage in Colombia, but the technology is unproven and any significant public health benefit is doubtful. For rice fortification to be an effective nutrition intervention, policy makers should explore standards to guide industry and consumers and improvements to regulatory capacity.