Last reviewed 14 October 2021

In its role as the UK National Standards Body, the British Standards Institution (BSI) has specified requirements for zinc enriched maize, rice and wheat intended as food for human consumption in a new standard.

“PAS 233: Zinc enriched wheat, maize and rice grain — Specification” can be found at bsigroup.com.

It provides an important tool for private and public enterprises in the food supply chain that procure and sell grain for human consumption, as well as governments, and associated quality and compliance agencies.

The standard sets out good practice requirements for class levels of zinc concentration, sampling guidance, packaging and labelling.

By specifying the parameters of increased zinc content seed obtained by conventional farming methods, the BSI explains, this standard is intended to enable greater transparency in the food value chain.

Governments and their agencies wishing to improve nutrition in staple crops and resulting foods for their population’s health and wellbeing will be able to follow the good practice set out in the standard, and organisations producing foodstuffs using these crops can be assured of their provenance.

The standard has been developed using the principle of consensus by a steering group of representatives from the international food eco-system, including producers, manufacturers, nutritionists and testing laboratories.

Sara Walton, Sector Lead for Food Standards at BSI, said: “We are proud to have led the development of the first specification for zinc enriched wheat, maize and rice grain.”

With greater awareness of how micronutrients in the diet, such as zinc, help prevent disease, she went on, it is vital to disseminate knowledge and consistent criteria in a common standard, so that crops produced by this method can be assimilated into the food supply chain.