Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world today and results in a condition termed iron deficiency anemia, which at its most advanced form causes several major negative impacts on health and contributes substantially to the risk of early death and disability. Fortification of foods with iron has been a commonly used strategy to combat iron deficiency throughout the world. A major advantage of using biscuits as a fortification vehicle is that it is considered to be cost-effective, shelf-stable and tasty snack rather than a meal.
A protocol was standardized to manufacture biscuits from composite wheat-pearl millet flour in combination with valuable dairy ingredients such as whey solids and enriched with a suitable iron fortificant selected on the basis of sensory evaluation. The iron fortified biscuit contained 6.53 mg iron per 100 g. The other nutrients present were 18.81% fat, 12.23% protein, 1.13% ash, 1.42 crude fiber, 3.2% moisture and 63.28% carbohydrates. The product showed storage stability up to 4 months without any significant change in the sensory as well as nutritional attributes.
In vivo trials on Wistar rats indicated that the iron fortified biscuits helped to maintain the haematic status of normal animals and repair that of anemic ones. Biological indices (apparent digestibility coefficient, retention of iron and percentage retention of iron) were greater in anaemic rats than in normal ones indicating that the iron bio-availability is dependent on the iron status of the body.
The haemoglobin concentration (mg/dl) increased significantly by about 25% and 70% in normal and anaemic rats respectively. Ferritin concentration in the blood plasma also increased. The cost of manufacture of the product was estimated as Rs. 17 per 100 g of the product.
Under the project, Extension Strategies for Promoting Value Addition in Milk among Farming Community: An Action Research.‟ Anmol Mahila Dugdh Samiti” (SHG) was established in Amritpur Kalan by the participation of 14 poor women. Highly motivated Fourteen members among women SHGs were trained for value addition in milk.
The processing unit is presently handling 70-100 litres/day and milk is converted in to milk product (such as Curd, Paneer, Whey drinks, Khoa, Gulab Jamun mix powder, Kulfi, etc). Anmol is selling Paneer, Ghee,Whey drinks, Gulab Jamun Mix, Khoa and composite dairy foods. The group is planning to purchase high yielding animals and efforts are being made to get finance from CANARA Bank, Gharounda under Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY) scheme with subsidy of 1.25 Lakh for Anmol group. This way the farm women feel they are now much more empowered and they have secured their livelihood.