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CHENNAI: Other infants in the ward were breastfed but for Sudharshan that would have been lethal had doctors not detected a metabolic disorder early. He had to rely on the largesse of a group of parents with children suffering from the same ailment to import an expensive formula that was easy to digest.
Sudharshan, now a lively seven-year-old, was lucky. Not every child who suffers from one or more of the 400500 types of metabolic disorders can afford the low-protein diet that children with such ailments require.

Not only is it hard to find this type of food in India but parents of children with metabolic disorders have also to depend on imported food which is exorbitantly priced and incurs huge custom charges.
As trying to get diet food that is locally manufactured remains a distant dream, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) tied up with doctors' bodies to ease import restrictions on special food for children with these life-threatening conditions. Representatives of FSSAI and Infant and Young Child
Nutrition Council of India will meet physicians in a three-day conference in the city to discuss ways to facilitate this.
"One of the initiatives is to enable import of foods for special medical purposes through a special import notification for 15 IEM (Inborn Errors of Metabolism) conditions," FSSAI chief executive officer Pawan Agarwal said.
Geneticist Sujatha Jagadeesh of Mediscan Systems said the move would help infants with the disorder in particular as their options were extremely limited.

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