Adding unnecessary ingredients to food products might seem like a wrong thing to do – if food products are already full of vitamins and minerals, wouldn’t the addition of anything else impact the end product?

Although meddling with food might seem like a harmful practice, it is very much the opposite. Recently, a study concluded that iodine fortification of bread in Tasmania improved the populations levels of iodine. Iodine is an essential micronutrient that is allows for effective thyroid hormone synthesis and is often misrepresented in diets. Not consuming enough iodine can lead to a multitude of very preventable disorders, such as hypothyroidism and neurological impairment, which is why the addition of iodine to bread in Tasmania was considered such a success.

What’s involved in food fortification?

In Australia, there are two ways that vitamins and minerals are added to food: mandatory fortification and voluntary fortification.

Mandatory fortification involves government legislation requiring food manufacturers to add vitamins and/or nutrients to certain foods. This usually occurs when a public health need is recognised in the population.

Voluntary fortification allows for food manufacturers to elect which vitamins and/or minerals they wish to add to their food, as long as the materials being added (as well as the amounts of the materials) corresponds to the policy guidelinesin place.

Food fortification in Australia

Particularly valuable additions to food products in Australia include omega 3, iodine, calcium, and vitamin D, all of which are associated with deficiencies in the Australian population. It is this purposeful fortification of food that ensures that a slew of health risks are being avoided throughout the country.

With an abundance of products on the shelf today that boast additional vitamins and minerals, consumers should still be mindful of what they eat. Otherwise unhealthy sugar or fat-rich foods fortified with vitamins and minerals should still be consumed as part of a balanced diet and not entirely relied on as part of a balanced diet. Team Med recommend that you visit your general practitioner to determine whether your diet requires specific vitamin supplements to ensure that you’re consuming the right foods for you.

Start complementing your diet today

With fortified foods being tightly controlled in Australia, it’s important to remember that manufacturers won’t add dangerous levels of vitamins to their food products, and some of these food products work wonderfully as part of a balanced diet.

If you’ve been on the fence regarding the fortified foods, consider them in the future!