This study assessed awareness and attitudes regarding industrial food fortification among adults in urban and rural Mongolia, and the city of Harbin, China. Between 2014 and 2017, surveys were collected from healthy men and women aged ≥18 years (182 Harbin residents and 129 urban and rural Mongolians participating in a nationwide nutrition survey in Mongolia). Survey reproducibility was assessed among 69 Mongolian participants to whom it was administered twice (summer and winter). Findings revealed that only 19% of rural and 30% of urban Mongolians, and 48% of Harbin residents were aware that industrial fortification is practiced in their countries. For most food groups evaluated, at least half of Mongolians and less than half of Harbin residents thought fortification was government-mandated (only the addition of iodine with salt is actually mandated in both countries). Fifty-five percent of rural and urban Mongolians favored mandatory fortification of foods, 14% disapproved of it, and 31% were uncertain (compared with 25%, 38%, and 37% respectively in Harbin). Upon learning that the primary purpose of adding vitamin D to milk is to prevent rickets, 75% of Mongolians but only 18% of Harbin residents favored mandatory fortification, while 42% of Harbin residents favored voluntary fortification (compared with <10% of Mongolians). In conclusion, in Mongolia and Harbin, awareness and understanding of food fortification is low, as is receptivity toward mandatory fortification. Health promotion and social marketing should be designed to create an enabling environment for increasing supply and demand of fortified foods, in support of upcoming program implementation in Mongolia and potential future legislation in northeern China.
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