MN Forum releases synopsis of Food Fortification report

The Micronutrient Forum has commissioned a report to provide insights into the state of the world of food fortification. The primary purpose of this report is to provide an objective overview, with emphasis on shining a light on research gaps and challenges in the scaling-up of staple food fortification, especially in the low-and middle-income country populations that would derive the greatest benefit.

The full report is currently under review by the MN Forum’s International Steering Committee.

In the interim, a synopsis report has been released.

Large-scale (mass) fortification is usually mandatory but voluntary programs are included where appropriate. Other methods of food fortification (e.g. for condiments)  which have the potential to reach a wide target group of consumers likely to be micronutrient-deficient, such as iodized salt, sugar with vitamin A and fortified cooking oil, are discussed. Micronutrient-fortified condiments like fish sauce and soya sauce are also addressed. Fortified complementary foods for young children or commercially-fortified, processed foods such as breakfast cereals, are not discussed, as well-covered elsewhere.

Large-scale fortification is only one of many effective tools within the broader nutrition, health and development agenda that is being promoted by the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, World Health Assembly (WHA) goals and the Global Nutrition Report. One of food fortification’s distinguishing features is its multi-sectoral nature and the close relationship with the private sector, which does the actual fortification, with oversight by government agencies responsible for legislation, regulation and compliance. The review focusses in detail on perspectives from the historical experience of 80+ years, and the on-going micronutrient gap in many populations, despite the considerable attention to micronutrient deficiencies by governments, donors and their partners over the past 25 years.

An estimate or existing global micronutrient deficiencies has been quantified to be approximately 1.6 billion people, with estimates of the resultant economic losses ranging from 2-5% of gross domestic product (GDP) in low- and middle-income countries.

To download State of the World Report 2015: Food Fortification. Synopsis Report, click here.