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Fortification of food

Fortification is a process by which vitamins, mineral nutrients and amino acids are added to foods to provide consumers with sufficient but not excessive amounts of certain nutrients in their diet.

The Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) set the framework for fortification of foods, including which foods are required or permitted to be fortified, and the applicable conditions. The requirements and voluntary permissions for fortification are set out in food standards under Part B and Part D, Division 3 of the FDR.


Mandatory fortification

For some foods, fortification is mandatory. Many food standards in Part B of the regulation state that foods must be fortified with certain vitamins, minerals and/or amino acids. For example, the standard for partly or partially skimmed milk in section B.08.005 of the regulation requires the addition of vitamin A and vitamin D, including the range of acceptable amounts.

In addition, fortification may also be permitted in specific foods using a marketing authorization (MA). As an example, this MA specifies the levels to which vitamin D can be added in cow's milk, goat's milk and margarine. For example, the level of vitamin D in cow's milk has been set to 2 µg/100 mL (2 micrograms/100 milliliters).

Section D.03.002 of the regulation outlines both the mandatory and voluntary fortification requirements for specific foods. This information is summarized in the table Foods to which vitamins, mineral nutrients and amino acids may or must be added.

Voluntary fortification

Voluntary fortification is permitted in the regulations for some foods. This information is included in the table Foods to which vitamins, mineral nutrients and amino acids may or must be added as outlined in section D.03.002 of the regulation.

Section D.03.003 of the regulation allows for the fortification of gluten-free foods in specific cases, as well as certain categories of foods represented for special dietary use (that is, those represented for protein-restricted diets and those represented for low (naming the amino acid) diets). These fortification provisions apply if no standard is prescribed in the regulations for those foods, and the food is not advertised.

In addition, Temporary Marketing Authorization Letters (TMALs) have been issued by Health Canada to permit the addition of vitamins and minerals to certain foods. TMALs authorize the sale of a food that does not meet one or more of the compositional, packaging, labelling or advertising requirements under the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations. For further information, refer to Health Canada's General guidance document for Temporary Marketing Authorization for Foods. A list of foods that have received Temporary Marketing Authorization Letters is also available on Health Canada's website.

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