e-Library of Evidence for Nutrition Actions (eLENA)

Fortification of wheat and maize flours

Fortification is the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, i.e. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in a food, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health.

Globally, more than 600 million metric tons of wheat and maize flours are processed per year and consumed as bread, noodles, tortillas and other flour-based products, making wheat and maize flours good vehicles for fortification. Fortification of industrially processed wheat and maize flour, when appropriately implemented, is an effective, simple, and inexpensive strategy for supplying vitamins and minerals to the diets of large segments of the world’s population.

WHO recommendations

Wheat and maize flour fortification should be considered when industrially produced flour is regularly consumed by large population groups in a country.

Decisions about which nutrients to add and the appropriate amounts to add should be based on a number of factors including i) the nutritional needs and deficiencies of the population; ii) the usual consumption profile of “fortifiable” flour (i.e. the total estimated amount of flour milled by industrial roller mills, produced domestically or imported, which could in principle be fortified); iii) sensory and physical effects of the added nutrients on flour and flour products; iv) fortification of other food vehicles; and v) costs.


Additional information, including a suggested scheme for fortification, can be found in the guidance summary, and in the guidance documents under 'WHO documents' below.

WHO documents

WHO documents

GRC-approved guidelines

Status: not currently available

Other guidance documents


Related Cochrane reviews
Other related systematic reviews
Clinical trials

Last update:

24 August 2016 16:57 CEST

Category 2 intervention

Systematic review(s) have been conducted but no recent guidelines yet available that have been approved by the WHO Guidelines Review Committee

Essential Nutrition Actions

This intervention is an Essential Nutrition Action targeting the first 1000 days of life.

Global targets

Implementation of this intervention may contribute to the achievement of the following targets:

Global nutrition targets

Target 2: 50%reduction of anaemia in women of reproductive age

Target 3: 30% reduction in low birth weight