Voluntary and Mandatory Fortification

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Voluntary fortification is conducted at the initiative of food producers aiming to increase value and sales of the products. This effort is no required by law or government regulations. Type of food commodities being fortified are also chosen by the manufacturer which mostly refer to the business and commercial provisions rather than nutrition and health, although health point is highlighted at the promotion. Target of voluntary fortification is everyone who is capable and willing to buy fortified commodities.

On the contrary, mandatory fortification is required by laws and regulations. Main target of mandatory fortification program is the poor, even though other population is also covered. Therefore, mandatory fortification is part of government’s responsibility for people’s welfare. Food commodity being fortified is limited as it should meet certain requirements.

More than 80 years, food fortification (hereinafter abbreviated as fortification) has been implemented in developed countries. At the beginning fortification was intended to restore the nutrients depleted in food processing. For example in the milling process of paddy into rice and wheat into flour, lots of vitamins and minerals are disappeared. Fortification technology seeks to restore these nutrients.

In its development, fortification becomes an effort to enhance health and welfare through improved nutrition. Fortification has proven instrumental to overcome the problem of micronutrients deficiencies in Europe, North America and recently in Latin America. The first country doing fortification program is the United States. In 1920 the country has issued a mandatory rule to add iodine to salt to combat diseases caused by iodine deficiencies. Since beginning of the 20th century salt iodization becomes a global program that is required by the laws of each country. In Indonesia salt iodization program began in the late 1970s, then upgraded to mandatory fortification by the Presidential Decree. 69 of 1994

Flour fortification with iron in America began in year 1938, and 1965 in Sweden. Moderate fortification of vitamin A in butter, milk and others in Europe and America began in the 2nd World war. Fortification program in the Western countries have succeeded in tackling various problems of malnutrition, while it is not yet the case in many developing countries.

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