A fortified food has had vitamins and minerals added to it in addition to what it already contained, prior to processing, which may have caused the product to lose nutrients. Similar in concept to fortification, and often confused, is the enrichment process. An enriched food is one that has had nutrients added back to it so that it again contains the same amount of vitamins and minerals as it did prior to processing. Packaging and nutrition labels will identify fortified foods.
In North America, most milk is fortified with Vitamin D after the pasteurisation and homogenisation process. Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium, a vital nutrient found in milk. Milk may be fortified further with Vitamin A and other nutrients as well.
Many cereals are heavily fortified to provide a higher percentage of vitamins and minerals than many consumers get in the rest of their regular diet. Cereals are commonly fortified with vitamin D, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, zinc, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, niacin and phosphorus. Fortified cereals come in both kid-style products and those made with whole grains and designed for an adult consumer.
Margarine and Oil
Margarine and oils may also be fortified with a number of vitamins and minerals. These products are often fortified with vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E, but are often also fortified with omega-3 oils and other nutrients that can be targeted to specific consumer groups. Fortified margarines may have added plant sterols or fatty acids.
Producers comonly fortify fruit juices. This includes juices made from concentrate, not from concentrate and juice blends. Producers often market orange juice as being fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Packagers often fortify juices with a number of vitamins and minerals, including iron and omega-3 fatty acids.
The governments of The United States, Canada, Australia, Italy and Switzerland have partnered together to promote public health by fortifying flour with iron. Because flour is a main ingredient in so many foods, adding iron to it delivers the nutrient in small, but frequent doses to consumers with a wide variety of dietary habits.