Fortification of Food for Value
Addition : Prospects and
Dr. Yousef Elshrek
• Wheat and maize flours and rice are
most commonly fortified with iron, folic
acid, and other B vitamins.
• Iron improves your capacity for
physical activity and productivity.
• Iron also facilitates children’s physical
and mental development and improves
the health of pregnant women.
• When iron deficiency causes severe
anemia, it contributes to maternal
• Folic acid (vitamin B9) is needed
for the health production of cells.
• It reduces the prevalence of
neural tube defects such as
spina bifida and anencephaly.
• These birth defects are
permanently disabling or fatal.
• Severe vitamin B9 deficiency
also leads to anemia.
Spina bifida. (A) Normal spine. (B) Spina bifida occulta. (C) Spina
bifida with meningocele. (D) Spina bifida with myelomeningocele.
• Other vitamins and minerals frequently used in
fortification and their role in health include:
• Niacin (vitamin B3) prevents the skin disease known
as pellagra. from diarrhea
• Riboflavin (vitamin B2) helps with
metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and
• Note: Riboflavin cannot be added to rice as
the orange color is too bright and will
change the color of fortified rice.
• Thiamin (vitamin B1) prevents the
nervous system disease called beriberi.
• Vitamin B12 maintains functions of the
brain and nervous system.
• Vitamin D helps bodies absorb calcium
which improves bone health.
• Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of
childhood blindness. It also diminishes an
individual’s ability to fight infections.
Severe vitamin A deficiency leads to
progressive keratinization of the
cornea of the eye
• Zinc helps children develop, strengthens
immune systems and lessens complications
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Will fortification harmful to our health?
• It is highly unlikely that anyone will get an
excess amount of vitamins and minerals
from fortified foods.
• Studies and research in countries with long
histories of fortification have established
overwhelming evidence of the protective
effect of fortification.
• A study published in 2004 found that the
“prevalence of excessive micronutrient
intakes in current European diets is non-
existent or extremely low, even for
consumers choosing higher amounts of
• Diet-based models indicate that future
increases in the proportion of foods
fortified at levels between 10 and 50%
RDA (recommended daily allowance)
would not be expected to lead to
excessive intakes for the majority of
vitamins and minerals.”
• In the United States, most wheat flour
and many breakfast cereals are fortified
with folic acid.
• Also, vitamin supplements containing
folic acid are widely available.
• Yet a population-based study found
that less than 3% of U.S. adults
exceeded the recommended upper
level of folic acid.
• None reached that level by eating
fortified foods; they only exceeded the
level if they consumed high-dose
Will fortification add to the cost
of flour, noodles, bread, rice,?
• The ongoing cost to fortify wheat and maize flour with
quality iron, zinc, folic acid and other B vitamins
ranges from US $1.50 to US $3 per metric ton of flour.
• If the miller passes that cost to the consumer, it
amounts to only pennies per pound of flour.
• Reports from different countries all say the cost is
less than 50 cents per person per year.
• When Uzbekistan launched a flour fortification
program in 2005, the cost was 120 Sums (around 10
US cents) per person, per year.
• The total cost of adding mandatory nutrients to flour
in the USA is $0.07 per person per year.
• The retail cost of rice may increase 1-4% depending
on the fortification method used.
Purpose of fortification
• All agricultural raw materials are processed
before they can be used as foods..
• In processing stages,, some portion of the
nutrients is destroyed (some Vitamin an trace
• Enrichment – addition of specific nutrients
• to a food (FDA, 1943)..
• Restoration – Replacement of nutrients loss in
• Supplementation : any foods or nutrients or a
mixture of both used to improve the nutritive
• Nitrification: Addition of nutrients to the
food at such level as to make major
contribution to food..
• Addiction of specific nutrients (milk or flour
• Excess amount to be added..
• Selection of appropriate carrier for
• To maintain the nutritional quality of foods..
• Keeping nutrients levels adequate to correct
or prevent specific nutritional deficiencies in
the population or in groups at risk of certain
• To increase the added nutritional value of a
product (commercial view).
• To provide certain technological functions in
Advantage of fortification
• Food fortification does not require people to
change their eating habits thus it is socially
• The effect of fortification is both fast and broad..
• Fortification does not affect organoleptic
• Food fortification is the safest strategy as the
• added nutrient is provided in the diet is low but
• constant amounts..
• Way to deliver necessary amounts of
• Fortification is the most cost effective
approach to prevent nutrient deficiencies.
• It can be introduced quickly through existing
marketing and distribution system.
• Benefits of fortification are readily visible.
• Food fortification is sustainable as it is
• In addition, fortification will reach secondly
• target risk groups, such as the elderly, the all
and those who have an unbalanced diet.
Limitations of fortification
• A thorough knowledge of dietary habits and
nutrient intake in the target group(s).
• A complementary educational programme is
required particularly when the fortification
influences organoleptic characteristics of the
• Food fortification is not the ultimate solution
of a nutritional deficiency
Fortification programme design
• Identification of the target group.
• Identification of the nutrient to be added.
• Selection of foods to reach the vulnerable
i.e. target group.
• Level of nutrient to be added.
• Execution of test protocol – laboratory
testing, bioavailability and pilot trials.
Criteria for selecting the vehicle for
• Food fortification is appropriate when there is demonstrated
need for increasing the intake of essential nutrients in one or
more population groups.
• The fortified food must be consumed by a large section of the
population, especially those at greatest risk of deficiency.
• Relatively little inter and intra individual variations occurs in the
amount of the fortified food conserved.
• This will ensure that nutrient intakes remain within a safe range.
• The essential nutrient(s) should be present in amounts that are
whether excessive nor insignificant, taking into account intake
from other dietary sources.
• The essential nutrient(s) should be present in
amounts that are whether excessive nor
insignificant, taking into account intake from
other dietary sources.
• The nutrient(s) added should not adversely
affect the metabolism of any other nutrient.
• The nutrient's added should be sufficiently
stable in the food under customary
conditions of packaging storage, distribution
• The nutrient(s) added should be
physiologically available from the food.
• The nutrients added should not impart
undesirable characteristics to the food and
should not unduly shorten shelf life.
• The fortified food must be through central
processing in which nutrients can be added
under controlled conditions and minimum
• The additional cost of the fortification
should be reasonable for the consumers.
• Dry mixing : for foods like cereal flours and their
• products, powder milk, beverage powder etc.
• Dissolution in water : for liquid milk, drinks, fruit
• juices, bread, pastas, cookies.
• Spraying : for corn flakes and other processed
• foods requiring cooking or extrusion steps that
• would destroy vitamin activity.
• Dissolution in oil : for oily products such as
• Addition : For sugar fortification vitamin
A in powder form is absorbed on to the
surface of the sugar crystals when used
with a vegetable oil.
• Coating : For rice. The vitamins sprayed
over the grains must be coated to avoid
losses when the grains are washed
• Pelleting : for rice. The vitamins are
incorporated into pellets reconstituted
from broken kernels.
• Vitamin A
• Moisture contents
• Repeated heating
• Hygroscopic foods
• Status of individual
• Dietary composition
• Food rich in phytate
• Suitable technologies
• Tannins present in chocolate breakfast drinks
• Fat based foods,, salt and sugars
• Low acid content of food
• Long term risk for male than female
• Iodine stability
• Periodic checking
• Mandatory certificatiion
• Vitamins are very sensitive to external factors such
• as humidity,, heat,, oxygen,, pH,, light,, oxidizing
and reducing agents..
• Some losses must therefore be expected during
food processing and storage..
• A part from using a process that causes minimal
losses and packaging material that gives maximum
• The food industry must add extra amounts of the
vitamins to compensate for those losses and to
ensure that the finished products has at least the
amounts declared on the labella during its normal
Wheat 32 100487 23 37489 111
Maize 1270 18022 13 262 79
Rice 100633 163 78 2
Qatar Grain Practices (metric tons)
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations
Wheat Voluntary 1 100
Source: FFI database
nutrients Added (parts per million)
Neural tube defects per 10,000 births1
Neural Tube Defects
1Source: Calculated from March of Dimes statistics, 21-March-2012
Note: This figure may not include pregnancy loss or
terminations of pregnancies due to pre-natal diagnosis of a
neural tube defect.
Countries that fortify flour with folic acid often report a
neural tube defect prevalence of less than 10 per 10,000
% Anemia in
% Anemia in
% Proportion of
indicators of Iron and Zinc Deficiency