The safety of food and drink remains paramount for industry, and continues to be
the top priority for FDF. Fortified products have been safely consumed in the
and across Europe for several decades. They can make a positive contribution to
the diet and act as a means of delivering nutrients to vulnerable groups in the
population who may be at risk of deficiency. Both European and UK wide studies
have indicated a significant prevalence of inadequate intakes or poor
status for some micronutrients in several population subgroups .
Research has shown that consumers who are deficient in vitamins and minerals are
often not able to afford supplements or don't even perceive a need to take them . These consumers can therefore get more adequate amounts of the nutrients in
which they are lacking from the fortified foods they eat.
The benefits of food fortification for the consumer are as follows:
- The importance of the diet for a healthy life has been amply demonstrated.
Fortified foods can play an important role in a healthy balanced diet.
- Fortification is controlled by strict regulations across both the UK and EU.
There are no known safety problems with current customs & practices for the
of vitamins and minerals currently used in fortified foods.
- Fortification can deliver nutrients to large segments of the population without
requiring radical changes in food consumption pattern
- Fortification is a means of delivering nutrients to vulnerable groups in the
population who may be at risk of deficiency. For example, fortification
significantly improves the adequacy of micronutrient intake, particularly of
folate, vitamin D and iron in women. Another example is that foods produced for vegans and vegetarians are often
fortified voluntarily with vitamin B12, which is not naturally
from plant sources.
- If consumed on a regular and frequent basis, fortified foods will maintain body
stores of nutrients more efficiently than intermittent supplements.
Vitamins and minerals are added to foods for a variety of reasons including:
- Restoration: replacement of nutrients lost during processing. By law in the UK,
iron, calcium carbonate, thiamin (vitamin B1) and niacin (vitamin B3) must be
added back to white and brown flour as they are removed with the bran during
milling of wheat.
- Substitution: to produce a substitute product with similar nutritive value. By
law in the UK, margarine has vitamins A and D ‘substituted’ at levels
- Enhancement: simply to enhance a product nutritional value, perhaps from a
In Europe, fortification is controlled by the ‘EC Regulation on the Addition of Vitamins, Minerals and Certain Other Substances
to Foods (1925/2006/EC)’. This Regulation came into force in January 2007 and aims to regulate and
harmonise voluntary fortification across the EU. It sets out which nutrients
allowed to be added to food and drink, and in what forms. It also specifies the
minimum amount of the nutrient that should be added, and sets out provisions
developing maximum amounts.
In the UK the addition of nutrients is also subject to the 1990 Food Safety Act and the Food Labelling Regulations 1996.
1. National Diet and Nutrition Survey (2010).
2. Hannon et al (2007). The impact of voluntary fortification of foods on
micronutrient intakes in Irish adults, British Journal of Nutrition 97,
3. Ruxton, CHS & Derbyshire E (2011). The Diets of Young People in the UK.
Complete Nutrition Vol 11. No 3.
4. Stockley, L & Lund, V (2008). Use of folic acid supplements, particularly
low-income and young women: a series of systematic reviews to inform public
health policy in the UK. Public Health Nutrition: 11(8), 807–821
Last reviewed: 18 Dec 2012