Handbook for the Production of Extruded Fortified Rice Kernels

World Food Programme
World Food Programme
Publication Year:
May 05, 2019
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger

This handbook is used as a practical guide for the fortification of rice kernels. There is a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B9, and vitamin B12, that could help improve the diets of vulnerable populations.


More than two billion people are deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. Such micronutrient deficiencies are usually the result of poor quality diets, and lead to a range of disabilities including impaired brain development and cognition, impaired immunity against disease, poor pregnancy outcome, poor growth, impaired work capacity, blindness, and even death. These poor health outcomes restrict the intellectual potential of the individual, reduce the earning power of the family, and decrease the gross domestic product of the country 1,2.

One way to improve food quality in the diets of vulnerable populations is by adding vitamins and minerals to commonly consumed foods, otherwise known as food fortification. This has long-lasting positive effects on people’s lives by reducing micronutrient deficiencies. Renowned scientists and Nobel laureate economists endorse food fortification as a safe, sustainable, cost-effective intervention for public health and economic development 3,4.

Rice is a staple food for over half the world’s population, many of whom live in poverty. While it is a good source of energy, many nutrients are lost in the milling process which make it a poor source of essential vitamins and minerals 5 . According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines on rice fortification, “Due to its wide local consumption, acceptability, reach and quantum consumption, rice far exceeds the requirements of a staple food vehicle that can be considered for fortification purposes at a population-level intervention” 6 . With rice fortification technologies now well-established, and published studies providing evidence of the impact of rice fortification, multiple stakeholders are well-positioned to make fortified rice available through social protection programmes, as well as in the market.

This handbook was developed in response to an increasing need for guidance on the production of fortified kernels (FKs) made from rice flour, vitamins, minerals, and water using extrusion. It is meant for producers of FKs and for food science professionals supporting rice fortification programmes, as well as other interested stakeholders including regulatory monitoring technical agencies and research organisations interested in providing technical assistance in extrusion for fortification.

The overall objective of this handbook is to provide basic technical guidance on the production of FKs, using extrusion technology. It aims to address the key challenges faced in the production process and to support decision-making and troubleshooting.

It gives general details of the production process and technical requirements with the aim of decision making. It provides information on raw materials, the extrusion process, equipment, and general quality attributes of FK. This differs from previous manuals as they have focused primarily on final fortified rice. This manual is meant to guide the selection of an extrusion line for production of FKs. It is a “quick” reference and not a comprehensive manual on production. Given particularities associated with equipment manufacturers and brands, it is expected that food manufacturers will receive more specific technical support from the company from which the extrusion equipment was purchased.


Fortification of commonly consumed staple foods is an important strategy for reducing the burden of vitamin and mineral deficiencies in a population. Multiple studies have established that, with the appropriate levels and forms of micronutrients, and with appropriate technology, fortified rice is an effective intervention to improve micronutrient status 7 . It has the potential to benefit almost half of the world’s population as the majority of the more than three billion people who consume rice as their main staple are unlikely to have an adequate micronutrient intake. Rice can be fortified with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, and vitamins A, B1 (thiamine), B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folic acid) and B12 8,9.

Rice fortification that retains micronutrients after preparation and cooking includes a two-step process. This involves the manufacturing of FKs containing appropriate vitamins and minerals, then blending those FKs with milled rice to create fortified rice. The type of fortificants chosen, and the technology used, ensure that fortificants remain stable and bioavailable under different conditions of storage, transportation, preparation and cooking. Extrusion can produce FKs that can be blended with milled rice to produce fortified rice that is effective and acceptable to consumers in colour, taste and texture 10.

The acceptability and effectiveness of fortified rice depends on the quality of the fortification technology, the type and levels of nutrients added, and consumer preferences. Therefore, production of quality FKs is a vital aspect of rice fortification programming to ensure a positive impact on the micronutrient status of the people consuming the fortified rice.


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