Food Fortification Initiative

ISSUE

The global health burden of vitamin and mineral deficiencies is profound. Inadequate folic acid causes serious birth defects, and iron deficiency contributes to the deaths of thousands of young women during pregnancy and childbirth

WHY IT MATTERS

  • Iron deficiency anemia affects millions of children and women globally. 
  • Nutrient deficiency leads to a myriad of health problems and healthcare expenses. 
  • The economic consequences of iron deficiency include reduced work capacity, undeveloped physical and mental skills and increased risk of maternal death. 

SOLUTION AND IMPACT

The Food Fortification Initiative is a public, private and civic partnership to promote the use of foods fortified with essential vitamins and minerals around the world. The network of partners, including CDC, is working to encourage the production and marketing of fortified flour and rice. CDC Foundation partners have included the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Bühler AG, Bunge Limited, Cargill, Inc., GiveWell, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Nutritional International and UNICEF, among others.

Food FortificationCurrently 87 countries require fortification of at least one industrially milled cereal grain. Of these, 86 countries fortify wheat flour alone or in combination with other grains. A 2015 study found that 35,500 birth defects of the brain and spine were prevented in one year due to flour being fortified with folic acid—an average of 97 healthier babies every day.

SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM

Estimated global population affected by iron-deficiency anemia:

More than 114 million children and over 16 million pregnant women

Over 243 million women of child-bearing age

An estimated 320,000 neural tube birth defects occur each year; most are preventable with enough folic acid at the right time


RESOURCES

Food Fortification Initiative

Why Fortify?

Global Progress
 

VIEW A FACT SHEET ON THIS TOPIC

Download a print-ready PDF
 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Contact Advancement
advancement@cdcfoundation.org
404.653.0790