What is Fortification of Food and why is It Important?
We have the word fortification being used for reinforcements in order to increase the defense of a place against an attack. I know that you might be wondering what does the scenario of a war has to do with the fortification of food, fortification means the adding of micronutrients in the food in order to provide more benefits from a regular diet, in other words, strengthen the dietary efficiency of food.
Usually, it is the choice of the manufacturer if they want to add extra nutrients in their product but under certain circumstances, it is the requirement of the public health administration to make the company add excessive nutrients in the product they are offering.
Difference between fortification and enrichment
World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has given the idea that Food fortification refers to the idea of planned addition of nutrients (minerals and vitamins) regardless of the fact that they might already be naturally present in it or not before or after processing with nominal risk to health. Whereas, enrichment is identical to fortification with a slight difference that is, only those nutrients are added into it that are lost during the processing of the food. But either way, they provide healthy nutrients.
Why is Food Fortification Important?
It is significant as it prevents the food from having any sort of nutritional deficiency and adds minerals and vitamins in order to overcome it if there is one. Fortified food is important as it keeps us safe from numerous diseases, it strengthens our immune system and helps us fight against the diseases, mentioned below are the three nutrients that are added in the name of fortification of food and how do they benefit us;
Every year many people suffer from Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD) which is one of the major causes of mental retardation, hypothyroid, hyperthyroid, other growth, and developmental abnormalities. Grave deficiencies can often lead to complications during birth and miscarriages. Even slight deficiencies can have its effects on the population’s ability to learn. A research shows that in 2007 over 1 Billion people were suffering from Iodine Deficiency Disorder and 38 million babies are born each year with some sort of brain damage. The advent of fortified food has been able to put an end to this deficiency.
è Folic acid
Folic acid helps to reduce blood homocysteine levels, forms RBCs, and takes care of the growth as well as the division of cells. It helps in the prevention of Neural Tube Defects (NTD). Ever since the government allowed food fortification, an eminent number of infants were saved as folic acid had been added to the flour. Deficiency of Folic acid causes different types of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, macrocytic or megaloblastic anemia and NTDs in children.
è Vitamin D
Vitamin D absorbs calcium and helps in the growth of bones. A research in 1930 showed that vitamin D plays a vital role in the cure of Ricket. This research became the reason for the fortification of food such as milk, margarine, and breakfast cereals. Deficiency of Vitamin D is associated with rickets, various types of cancer. It puts forward the risk of heart diseases, fractures, type 2 diabetes, asthma and different breathing disorders.