Fortification of wheat and maize flours
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. As these products are widely consumed, they can serve as a vehicle of intentionally added extra nutrients such as iron, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin A and/or zinc, for the purpose of preventing or correcting a demonstrated vitamin or mineral deficiency in the general population. This process usually takes place during food processing by the food industry at a central level so that it does not require the active participation of end users.
WHO recommends the individual or combined addition of iron, vitamin A, folic acid, zinc and vitamin B12 to wheat and maize flours. Technical issues such as appropriate nutrient levels to add, its interactions with the food and other nutrients, the type of flour or the consumer acceptability are important to consider prior to the initiation of a fortification programme.
Effects and safety of wheat and maize flour fortification in public health
Status: guidelines under development
Maximizing the impact of flour fortification to improve vitamin and mineral nutrition in populations