Renata Limited – a manufacturer of pharmaceuticals and animal health products – has brought eggs with 35% more folate to the market for the first time in the country.
The eggs – produced in a special process by Purnava, the nutraceuticals division of the company – will be available at superstores at a price of Tk220 per dozen.
Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9, which is water-soluble and naturally found in many foods. It is also added to foods and sold as a supplement in the form of folic acid.
According to experts, folate, which is particularly beneficial for children, adolescents and pregnant women, plays an important role in the formation and growth of red blood cells.
In a press conference at the Dhaka Reporters Unity on Sunday, the company presented information on marketing new eggs.
Generally, all eggs contain folic acid, which is included in chicken feed. However, during digestion, stomach acid reduces folate, which reduces the amount of vitamin B9 in eggs, executives said at the event.
Professor Dr Khaleda Islam, director of the Institute of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Dhaka, who was involved in the nutritional quality and process of this new egg, gave details about it.
Dr Khaleda, who was a physician at the Gynaecology Department of Dhaka Medical College Hospital, worked on the egg production process from the idea she gathered from seeing pregnant women suffer various problems due to a lack of folate.
She said folate is important in the formation and growth of red blood cells, which helps reduce birth defects in the neural tube, spinal cord and brain of the foetus in pregnant women.
She added that folate deficiency can lead to cleft lip and cleft palate, pre-term delivery, low birth weight and increased risk of miscarriage. Many risks can be reduced by eating these eggs regularly.
"Doctors recommend medication to meet the folate needs of women, children and teenagers. But if one eats these eggs, they will not require medication. Folate needs will be met naturally," she added.
Md Sirajul Haque, director of the Animal Health Division at Renata, said, "Because these eggs are produced in a special process, their price is a little higher than other eggs."
"Because these eggs will meet the human need for folate, which has to be bought as a medicine. As a result, people will not have to spend on medicine," he added.
Bangladesh eats away 4.5 crore pieces of egg per day. Big poultry firms such as Kazi Farms and Paragon supply 2.5 crore pieces, as the rest comes from marginal farmers.