Food Fortification (Global Overview)

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The food fortification industry has witnessed rapid growth in recent years. The growth can be attributed to the growth of micronutrients deficiencies among a large percentage of the population particularly in developing countries. This in effect contributes substantially to the global burden of diseases. It has been estimated that micronutrient deficiencies account for 7.3% of the global burden of disease, with iron, vitamin A and iodine deficiency ranking among the 15 leading causes of global disease burden. Fortification of food is considered to be one of the most cost-effective methods to addressing these widespread deficiencies. As defined by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), fortification refers to "the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, ie. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in a food irrespective of whether the nutrients were originally in the food before processing or not, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and to provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health, According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) mortality data, around 0.8 million death (1.5% of the total) can be attributed to iron deficiency each year and a similar number to vitamin A deficiency. It is estimated that worldwide more than 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Oftentimes, people that are known to have limited access to a varied diet also suffer micronutrient deficiencies. Research has revealed that when iron deficiency is compounded by other vitamins and mineral deficiencies; the economic impact often exceeds 5 per cent of GDP per year. Many national governments across the world are initiating programs to eliminate micronutrients deficiencies across the world. The basic objective of these programs is to ensure that needed micronutrients are available and consumed in adequate amounts by vulnerable population. In Africa,...
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