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Nutrients 2014, 6(10), 4421-4433;

Discretionary Fortification—A Public Health Perspective

Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 3E2, Canada
Received: 31 July 2014 / Revised: 30 August 2014 / Accepted: 19 September 2014 / Published: 17 October 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrient Fortification and Human Health)
Full-Text   |   PDF [119 KB, uploaded 17 October 2014]


‘Discretionary fortification’ refers to the addition of vitamins and minerals to foods at the discretion of manufacturers for marketing purposes, but not as part of a planned public health intervention. While the nutrients added may correspond to needs in the population, an examination of novel beverages sold in Toronto supermarkets revealed added nutrients for which there is little or no evidence of inadequacy in the population. This is consistent with the variable effects of manufacturer-driven fortification on nutrient adequacy observed in the US. Nutrient intakes in excess of Tolerable Upper Intake Levels are now observed in the context of supplement use and high levels of consumption of fortified foods. Expanding discretionary fortification can only increase nutrient exposures, but any health risks associated with chronically high nutrient loads from fortification and supplementation remain to be discovered. Regulatory bodies are focused on the establishment of safe levels of nutrient addition, but their estimation procedures are fraught with untested assumptions and data limitations. The task of determining the benefits of discretionary fortification is being left to consumers, but the nutrition information available to them is insufficient to allow for differentiation of potentially beneficial fortification from gratuitous nutrient additions. View Full-Text
Keywords: discretionary fortification; novel beverages; nutrient adequacy; population health; consumer information; food safety discretionary fortification; novel beverages; nutrient adequacy; population health; consumer information; food safety
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Valerie, T. Discretionary Fortification—A Public Health Perspective. Nutrients 2014, 6, 4421-4433.

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