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close this bookFood fortification: Technology and quality control. (FAO Food and Nutrition Paper - 60) (1996)
close this folderIMPACT OF LEGISLATION
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentGeneral principles for addition of nutrients to foods
View the documentConsideration of additional requirements

Consideration of additional requirements

The Consultation felt that there were a number of issues related to food fortification which should be additionally considered:

Compulsory addition of nutrients

Such rules would be the responsibility of national authorities and respond to specific regional, national or even local situations. Specific provisions may address:

- Specific food vehicles to be chosen on the basis of the recommendations given above;
- Specific nutrients that may be added to these foods;
- Specific levels which would be appropriate for the situation.

Existing legislation currently pertaining to nutrient addition to selected food products in many countries are included in Annex 7.

The establishment of an advisory list of nutrients

The establishment of an advisory list of nutrients and nutrient compounds to be used in food fortification should be encouraged. The Consultation felt that the Advisory lists of mineral salts and vitamin compounds for use in foods for infants and young children detailed in the Codex Alimentarius Volume 4-1994, would be an excellent starting point. Such a list should be regularly updated taking into account new scientific and technological developments and data on safety, bioavailability, stability and other relevant data.

Foods to which nutrients may be added

The Consultation felt that a list of foods to which nutrients may be added should not be drawn. However, the selection of such foods should be guided by the principles set out in the appropriate Codex guidelines referred to above.

Levels of nutrients

The Consultation believed that minimum levels for the addition of nutrients should be set, in international recommended standards, according to the purpose of the addition. The setting of maximum levels, it was felt, should be considered for those nutrients for which there is evidence that excessive intakes would result in undesirable effects.

Labelling

It has already been stated that general labelling rules and specific rules on nutrition labelling should apply. A particular issue of interest is that of nutrition claims and health claims to be made for foods to which nutrients are added.

Experience has shown that the success of food fortification programmes can be enhanced by permitting the manufacturers to make relevant claims. Commercial realities would also advocate that such permission also be granted when nutrients are added voluntarily to foods. However, care should be taken that use of claims does not result in practices that could mislead or deceive the consumer or distort the true value of the fortification.

Given that the subject of health and nutrition claims on food labelling is currently being discussed within the Codex Alimentarius programme, the Consultation did not deem it appropriate to discuss it further. However, the Consultation recommended that Codex accelerate the resolution of this important matter.

Finally, the Consultation suggested that the extent of legislative measures to be developed should not be such as to make fortification practices cumbersome nor restrict communication on the availability of the fortified food. The legislative development process should involve extensive consultation with the scientific community, industry, consumers and other relevant, interested parties.