What is Enriched Rice?

Rice sold in Target stores

By
Chef Nancy Berkoff, RD, EdD

A
little rice enrichment fact-let: when rice is polished, most of the nutrients
are removed. In the 1800’s many people who immigrated to the US were accustomed
to eating unpolished rice as a staple food. Unfortunately, only white rice was
popularly for sale in the US. There began to be many Vitamin B-deficiency
diseases seen in the immigrant population, as they had previously obtained
their Vitamin Bs from unpolished, “whole grain” rice. The US government
mandated that all polished rice be fortified with the nutrients that had been
removed. This was accomplished by saving the rice “shells,” crushing them into a
powder, mixing the powder with water and spraying the mixture back onto the
rice. The rice was allowed to dry, and the nutrients were partially restored. Public
health campaigns were launched, to instruct people not to wash the “fortified
rice,” as washing the rice removed the nutrient powder.