Food fortification is a process that consists of adding nutrients or bioactive components to food, using as sources other foods, food constituents or supplements. (Dwyer JT et al., Adv Nutr 2015; 6: 124-31.)

Fortification serves to correct or prevent inadequate nutrient intake, correct deficiencies, balance the total nutrient profile of the diet, replenish nutrients lost during processing or improve palatability. The first fortifications were instituted to prevent the “great nutritional deficiencies”: beri beri, pellagra, endemic goiter, rickets.

Principles that guide the fortification of foods (FDA, 1980)

  • In a significant proportion of the population, in the absence of fortification, the level of intake of a nutrient is below the desirable content.
  • The food that is being fortified is consumed in quantities that would represent an important contribution of what the population normally consumes.
  • It is unlikely that the additional intake of the nutrient through fortification induces an imbalance with respect to other essential nutrients.
  • It is unlikely that the additional intake of the nutrient through fortification induces an imbalance with respect to other essential nutrients.
  • The added nutrient is stable under storage and use conditions.
  • The added nutrient is physiologically available in fortified foods.
  • The quantities added will not reach toxic levels under any circumstances.

At present, the fortifications point to specific population groups whose levels of nutrient intake, determined on the basis of surveys, are below the recommendations established for age and sex.