Public health professionals and the food industry also use the results from dietary assessment to identify nutrients that appear to be inadequate in groups evaluated and then to consider either fortifying foods or developing new foods to assist in meeting nutrient needs. Fortification can be of significant benefit when a large segment of the population has usual intakes of a nutrient below the dietary standard and nutrition education efforts have been ineffective. Food fortification in the United States may be mandatory, such as in the folate, iron, and selected B vitamin fortification of cereal grains, or voluntary, as in the addition of a large array of vitamins in ready-to-eat cereals. The effects of fortification on intake distributions depend on the choice of food fortified.
Dietary assessment provides information for people concerned with the food safety considerations associated with the prevalence of very high intakes of nutrients. Information on how to apply the UL should be helpful here.
The introduction of the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), especially the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) and Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), provides better tools for many of the uses described here and presented in Table 2-1. This report presents how specific DRIs should be used for dietary assessment. While some examples of application in the assessment of individuals and of groups are provided, not all of the uses described above are specifically addressed. A subsequent report will discuss using specific DRIs in planning.