consume an insufficient amount of food to meet energy needs, they consume food with low nutrient density, or they omit one or more food groups. Historically, enrichment or fortification1 of food targeted to specific populations has been used to reduce these types of inadequacies. Through fortification the specific nutrient content in food products can be minimally enhanced to restore naturally occurring nutrients lost during processing or it can be increased above the level found in comparable food to serve as a significant source of the specific nutrient.

The committee has approached discretionary fortification of food within the parameters of its limited charge from the study sponsors. This charge states:

As a result of identifying approaches to using the DRIs as the basis for reference values for the food label, [the committee is to] determine principles for discretionary fortification or addition of nutrients to foods as well as the suitability of using reference values for the food label for discretionary fortification.

Thus the committee focused its deliberations on the suitability of applying the DRIs and the guiding principles recommended in Chapter 5 to the issues surrounding discretionary fortification. In doing so, the committee focused on the DRIs and, as also requested by the sponsors, considered FDA’s 1980 fortification policy and specific vulnerable groups in the population. This chapter presents six principles, based on the scientific information contained in the DRI reports, that are intended to guide future discretionary fortification practices. The committee’s approach has not been to review individual types of food, but rather to develop principles that would be applicable for all food, including meat and poultry products.

The committee has also approached its task on discretionary fortification with the assumption that the resulting guiding principles are scientific criteria that the sponsoring agencies would review and apply as they deem appropriate to identify situations where fortification is justified. While the historic and current approaches to fortification in the United States and in Canada differ, the committee has developed these principles with the anticipation they will serve as guidance to facilitate compatibility of discretionary fortification practices between the two countries.


Throughout this chapter the term “fortification” refers to the addition of nutrients to food.

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