Many vitamins and minerals
diseases such as goiter and pellagra are no longer common in developed countries at least, in part, due to food fortification programs. However, suboptimal intakes of nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D may occur. In addition, there is heightened consumer awareness and demand for more healthful foods. Consequently, food industries perceived a market for foods with improved nutritional profiles, resulting in a proliferation of fortified foods in the current market place. Ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are a prime example of industry-initiated food fortification. Published reports indicate that in 1969, only about 16% of the breakfast cereals in the US market place were fortified; that number rose to about 92% in 1979 following certain legislative actions providing more flexibility to industry for the addition of nutrients to foods. A market survey in Germany highlights the heterogeneity of current fortification practices: a total of 288 fortified foods in six different food categories (beverages, sweets, cereals, milk products, powdered instant beverages, and ready-to-eat meals) were found to be fortified with a wide range of nutrients.
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