For those who may not know, food fortification is the process of adding something to a food in order to increase its nutritional value. The Food Standards Agency describe it as the process of adding nutrients to foods irrespective of whether or not the nutrients were originally present in the food. A perfect example are some nutritional supplements, now although they aren’t strictly food, they do have ‘nutrients added to them that were not originally in the food’ e.g. USN Muscle Fuel Anabolic contains creatine, and PhD Nutrition containing powdered Flaxseed.
If we are being strict, then fortification is actually improving the nutritional value of a population, so foods that are commonly eaten are usually the target of fortification. Margarines (which are fortified by law), and cereals (which are fortified voluntarily.
This may seem all well and good, but is it? Don’t get me wrong, food fortification IS DEFINITELY a good thing, it can be used to top up nutritional deficiencies, but some companies seem to use it to make a food seem for healthful than perhaps it actually is. It’s great that a food has folic acid added to it to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in babies, but if the sugar content is particularly high (which it often is in cereals), then any good gleaned from the folic acid is negated by the bad of the sugar.
Once again, fortification is a good thing, but like anything… it has to be done properly to be of real benefit to us as the consumer.
British Nutrition Foundation, (2015). Fortification. Retrieved 10th June, 2015, from discount supplements