Report of the WHO meeting on estimating appropriate levels of vitamins and minerals for food fortification programmes: The WHO intake monitoring, assessment and planning program (IMAPP)
Geneva, Switzerland, 22 July 2009
Food fortification with vitamins and minerals is currently considered as one of the main approaches to improve vitamin and mineral intake in populations. In 2006, Guidelines on Food Fortification with Micronutrients were published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to provide technical guidance for the implementation of food fortification programmes as a public health intervention.
In designing an effective food fortification programme, calculating the vitamins and minerals to add to foods to be fortified, as well as the amounts, is a complex task that requires knowledge about usual dietary intakes, potential food vehicles, and other micronutrient-related interventions being implemented simultaneously. When defining nutritional goals, it is important to assure that the levels of micronutrients added are both safe and efficacious for all population groups consuming the fortified food vehicle. A meeting convened in Washington DC, United States of America in 2006 organized by A2Z, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and WHO/PAHO on The Use of Food Intake in Designing, Monitoring and Evaluating Mass Fortification Programs identified that food consumption data can be useful for establishing the nutrient gaps, assessing the contribution of fortified foods to the total intake of vitamins and minerals, selecting potential food vehicles to be used, and monitoring and evaluating ongoing programmes.
To facilitate use of the methodology described in the WHO/FAO Guidelines on Food Fortification with Micronutrients for determining the appropriate level of vitamins and minerals to add to a food vehicle, WHO is working in collaboration with the University of Hawaii, Iowa State University, and the United States Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service’s (USDA, ARS) Western Human Nutrition Research Center in Davis, California, to develop a software tool that will enable public health managers to calculate the optimal level of additional micronutrients for food fortification with user-friendly software, using locally available data.