a UL has been identified for the nutrient additions, the totality of scientific evidence amassed through modeling of exposure analysis, the severity of the adverse effects associated with the UL, the degree of risk of adverse effects to any segment of the population, and the appropriate nature of the food vehicle would all be considered when determining the potential for public health benefit from fortification. However it is imperative that the contribution of existing fortification practices and dietary supplements to current intakes be understood before regulations are introduced that would dramatically alter these practices. Given this situation, the agencies may decide that it important to support the continuation of certain longstanding discretionary fortification practices for the general nutritional well-being of the population. The guiding principles for discretionary fortification, in combination with this decision-making approach, provide a method for determining whether discretionary fortification is scientifically justified.

Research and Data Support Recommendations

During its deliberations the committee identified five areas where additional research and data support would benefit nutrition labeling and discretionary fortification. These areas are:

  • Determination of requirements for those nutrients for which EARs could not be developed

  • More data of high quality on adverse effects and dose relationships to permit definition of the biological endpoints, no-observed-adverse-effect levels, and lowest-observed-adverse-effect levels underlying the ULs

  • Empirical research to ascertain the impact of discretionary fortification practices

  • Enhanced data collection and food composition and dietary supplement databases

  • Changes in nutrition labeling and consumer research on its use

A particular problem that the committee faced was the paucity of published data on consumer use of nutrition labeling. The committee puts forward this report in the anticipation that FDA, FSIS, and Health Canada will use the guiding principles in a systematic process to revise the scientific basis for nutrition labeling and for discretionary fortification. As part of this process, the committee also recommends a general review of the Nutrition Facts box, as well as significant consumer-based research on labeling of conventional food and supplements.

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