(Agrilearner)Food fortification – also known as food enrichment – is when nutrients are added to food at higher levels than what the original food provides. This is done to address micro nutrient deficiencies across populations, countries and regions.
Governments working with industry, international agencies and NGOs have used this method to help reduce and eliminate micro nutrient deficiencies in their populations.
Fortification of centrally-processed staple foods is a simple, affordable and viable approach to reach large sections of a country’s population with iron, folic acid, and other essential micro nutrients.
Adding micro nutrients to common staple foods can significantly improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and improve public health with minimal risk. The foods most commonly fortified are salt, wheat, corn, rice, bouillon cubes, soya sauce and other condiments
Fortified foods help to fill in the nutritional gaps in our diet. They can deliver vitamins and minerals to large portions of the population without requiring large changes in our behaviour or diet. For example, salt is a regularly used ingredient in Cambodia and has been fortified with addition iodine. This improves iodine levels which is important for healthy growth and learning.
Despite evidence of great impacts through fortified salt in Cambodia, very few other foods have been fortified with micro-nutrients.
Fish and soya sauces are common ingredients in Khmer cooking and are good “vehicles” for iron fortification. Low iron levels is a significant issue in Cambodia, which results in a dangerous condition called anaemia. This is an issue for children, but also for young mothers who require good iron levels before and during pregnancy.
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