Parboiled rice is normally believed to be more heath-giving because of its higher Vitamin B levels, and some varieties have been found to be lower in GI levels. Nevertheless, the researchers in this study discerned that the concentrations of zinc are likely to be lower in parboiled rice in compared to the non-parboiled.
The TR – true retention, a quantification of percentage retained in the grain – of between 63.8 to 89.6% zinc was detected in non-parboiled. However, the parboiled rice’s TR value lies between 49.8 to 72.2%. Also, the average concentration of zinc in bio-fortified rice was found to be 18.0 µg.g, while the zinc concentration in non-bio-fortified rice was 12.3 µg.g.
So the rice having higher zinc levels should be considered for populations that eat mostly parboiled or highly polished rice, in spite of some well-known nutritional benefits of parboiled rice, for populations with high zinc deficiency it is advisable to elevate the consumption of non-parboiled over parboiled rice.
Zinc deficiency can lead to stunted growth, weakened immune function, hair loss, diarrhea for the open market. Regulations will be carried out first for the oil and milk followed by rice at a later date.
All rice, salt, and wheat distributed through the nation’s public distribution system are already being fortified. To be specific, rice is being fortified with folic acid, iron, and Vitamin B12. The question is why is zinc has not been incorporated as a mandatory nutrient for rice fortification, whether via developing high-zinc rice varieties or later addition/processing, FSSAI Director (Social and Behavioral Change) Inoshi Sharma who is in charge of the country’s upcoming compulsory fortification regulations stated that this is due to the fact that ‘fortification is considered a preventive action and not a curative one’.
“Zinc adjunction is generally advised for the diarrhea management.
FSSAI’s norms for dosages for wheat flour and rice do encompass zinc as an optional micronutrient [so] the provision already exists,” she further said. As of now, zinc is also administered via national programmes such as the National Programme for Management for Diarrhea as a supplement to Oral Rehydration Salts in children over 3 months of age.
Considering the case of parboiled rice, she was of the opinion that eating parboiled rice in India ‘is high’ and suggested that millers in the open market fortify rice in compliance with the dosage specified by FSSAI as there are no mandatory regulations regarding this matter till date. The compulsory fortification of all edible oil and milk in India will hopefully begin within the next few months, and Sharma anticipated regulations for the rice will follow in the coming 3-4 years.