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Keywords:

  • daily values;
  • dietary patterns;
  • fortification;
  • upper levels

This article reviews the current landscape regarding food fortification in the United States; the content is based on a workshop sponsored by the North American Branch of the International Life Sciences Institute. Fortification of the food supply with vitamins and minerals is a public health strategy to enhance nutrient intakes of the population without increasing caloric intake. Many individuals in the United States would not achieve recommended micronutrient intakes without fortification of the food supply. The achievement and maintenance of a desirable level of nutritional quality in the nation's food supply is, thus, an important public health objective. While the addition of nutrients to foods can help maintain and improve the overall nutritional quality of diets, indiscriminate fortification of foods could result in overfortification or underfortification in the food supply and nutrient imbalances in the diets of individuals. Any changes in food fortification policy for micronutrients must be considered within the context of the impact they will have on all segments of the population and of food technology and safety applications and their limitations. This article discusses and evaluates the value of fortification, the success of current fortification efforts, and the future role of fortification in preventing or reversing nutrient inadequacies.