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Nutrients. 2014 Oct 17;6(10):4421-33. doi: 10.3390/nu6104421.

Discretionary fortification--a public health perspective.

Author information

1
Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 3E2, Canada. valerie.tarasuk@utoronto.ca.

Abstract

'Discretionary fortification' refers to the addition of vitamins and minerals to foods at the discretion of manufacturers for marketing purposes, but not as part of a planned public health intervention. While the nutrients added may correspond to needs in the population, an examination of novel beverages sold in Toronto supermarkets revealed added nutrients for which there is little or no evidence of inadequacy in the population. This is consistent with the variable effects of manufacturer-driven fortification on nutrient adequacy observed in the US. Nutrient intakes in excess of Tolerable Upper Intake Levels are now observed in the context of supplement use and high levels of consumption of fortified foods. Expanding discretionary fortification can only increase nutrient exposures, but any health risks associated with chronically high nutrient loads from fortification and supplementation remain to be discovered. Regulatory bodies are focused on the establishment of safe levels of nutrient addition, but their estimation procedures are fraught with untested assumptions and data limitations. The task of determining the benefits of discretionary fortification is being left to consumers, but the nutrition information available to them is insufficient to allow for differentiation of potentially beneficial fortification from gratuitous nutrient additions.

PMID:
25329969
PMCID:
PMC4210926
DOI:
10.3390/nu6104421
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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