The History and Future of Food Fortification in the United States: A Public Health Perspective


  • Jeffrey R. Backstrand PhD

    1. Dr. Backstrand is with the Joint Ph.D. Program in Urban Systems, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, 65 Bergen Street, 11th Floor, Newark, NJ 07107-3001, USA.
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For more than 50 years, the United States federal government has regulated food fortification. During this time, the nutritional situation in the United States has improved greatly, whereas scientific information about the role of vitamins and minerals in human growth and development has increased exponentially. Concurrently, government authority to regulate food fortification has declined. This paper provides a brief history of U.S. food fortification policy and describes the contribution of food fortification to U.S. nutrient intakes. The paper highlights future directions of food fortification in the United States in light of these important developments, and addresses the issue of risk and the need to balance deficiency and toxicity in a generally well nourished population.