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Food Fortification

Many foods are either enriched or fortified with vitamins and minerals.

What does vitamin enriched food mean?

Vitamin enriched food means that vitamins or minerals have been added to the food. The vitamins and minerals are added to replace the vitamins and minerals that were lost during the refining process. For example, if the food originally had calcium in it, but the calcium was lost during the refining process, the food can be 'enriched' to add the calcium back into the food.

What does vitamin fortified food mean?

Vitamin fortified food means that vitamins or minerals have been added to the food in addition to the levels that were originally found before the food was refined. When foods are fortified, they will have more vitamins and minerals after they are refined than they did before being refined. Common fortified foods are: milk (fortified with vitamin D) and salt (fortified with iodine).

The European Commission has proposed legislation in this area of vitamin and mineral food fortification. The legislation is designed to regulate the way that substances can be added to food and how this is marketed to consumers.

The European Commission is concerned that fortified foods are misleading and don't help people to have a balanced diet. Claims about specific fortification are good for marketing purposes, for example 'added iron, extra vitamin C' but don't address the overall healthiness of food products. For example, yoghurts aimed at children may be marked 'added calcium' but may contain high levels of sugar or fat.

The overall goal of food production, marketing and retailing must be good nutrition. Crucially this means improving the nutritional content and quality of existing major food brands and products by reducing salt, sugar and fat.

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References

Bland, J. 1996, Contemporary Nutrition. J & B Associates.

Davies, S. and A. Stewart., 1997, Nutritional Medicine. Pan.

Holden, S., Hudson, K., Tilman, J. & D. Wolf, 2003, The Ultimate Guide to Health from Nature. Asrolog Publication.

Pressman, A. and S. Buff, 2000, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. (2nd Ed.) Alpha Books.

Soothill, R. 1996, The Choice Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. A Choice Book Publication.

Sullivan, K. 2002, Vitamins and Minerals: A Practical Approach to a Health Diet and Safe Supplementation. Harper Collins.

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established standards that specify appropriate fortification levels of nutrients such as thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, folic acid, and iron in grain products; vitamins A and D in milk; and iodine in salt.

Intake of fortified foods complying with these standards has contributed to nutrient intakes and reduced the risk of disease. For example, vitamin D fortification of cow's milk and the addition of iodine to salt have been largely responsible for the dramatic decline in rickets and goiter, respectively, in the U.S.

 

Dietary supplementation is a different issue again. This involves adding known nutrients in known amounts on a regular basis. Many errors can be introduced by relying on poor quality products or formulations not in appropriate proportion to other nutrients. We recommend Total Balance as the ideal nutritional supplement.