e-Library of Evidence for Nutrition Actions (eLENA)

Fortification of maize flour and corn meal

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.

Maize, also referred to as corn, is cultivated in most parts of the world, as it grows in diverse climates. Maize is an important cereal crop and together with wheat and rice account for 94% of total cereal consumption worldwide.

Industrial fortification of maize flour and corn meal with at least iron has been practised for many years in several countries in the Americas and Africa, where these ingredients are used in the preparation of many common national dishes. When appropriately implemented, fortification is an efficient, simple and inexpensive strategy for supplying vitamins and minerals to the diets of large segments of the population.

WHO recommendations

Fortification of maize flour and corn meal with iron is recommended to prevent iron deficiency in populations, particularly vulnerable groups such as children and women.

Fortification of maize flour and corn meal with folic acid is recommended to reduce the risk of occurrence of births with neural tube defects.


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
Other guidance documents


Systematic reviews used to develop the guidelines
Other related systematic reviews
Clinical trials