result of discussions among FNB, AMA, FDA, and the American Bakers Association. The voluntary cooperation of bakery-associated industries led to 75 percent of the white bread in the United States being fortified by the middle of 1942 (Quick and Murphy 1982). The first War Food Order, enacted in 1943, stated that all flour sold for interstate commerce would be enriched according to FDA standards. This order was later repealed in 1946, but was followed in 1952 with official standards of identity for enriched bread (FDA, 1952a, 1952b). Under this new regulation, fortification of flour and bread products was not mandatory, but if a product was labeled as “enriched” it was required to meet the standards of identity described in the regulation.

FDA made a decision in the 1940s that it would not require mandatory fortification for any food product; this policy is still in place. For every standard of identity for which there is an enriched version of a food, there is a corresponding standard of identify for an unenriched version. Prior to 1990 individual states could enact laws that addressed fortification of products sold within their boundaries. For example, by the time the enriched bread standard was finally promulgated by FDA in 1952, the enrichment of flour and bread was mandatory in 26 states (Hutt, 1984). The National Labeling Education Act of 1990 provided for federal preemption of standards of identity, however, thus nullifying these state laws.

Since the 1950s standards of identify have been issued for the fortification of food, such as oleomargarine and rice and other cereal grains, and have been proposed for formulated meal replacements. The most recent standard of identity change for these products was the regulation, effective in January 1998, regarding folate. To meet the standard of identify for most breads, flours, corn meals, rice, noodles, macaroni, and other grain products labeled as enriched, folic acid is to be added at the level of 0.43 mg to 1.4 mg/lb of product. This decision reflects an overall approach within the United States that incorporates six underlying principles first presented in a joint statement of FNB and the Council on Foods and Nutrition of AMA (NRC/AMA, 1968):

  • The intake of the nutrient, in the absence of fortification, is below the desirable level in the diets of a significant number of people.

  • The food from which the nutrient is to be derived is likely to be consumed in quantities that will make a significant contribution to the diet of the population in need.

  • The addition of the nutrient is unlikely to create an imbalance of essential nutrients.

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