National Food Fortification

Food Fortification refers to the addition of micronutrients to processed foods. In many situations, this strategy can lead to relatively rapid improvements in the micronutrient status of a population, and at a very reasonable cost, especially if advantage can be taken of existing technology and local distribution networks. Since the benefits are potentially large, food fortification can be a very cost-effective public health intervention. However, an obvious requirement is that the fortified food(s) needs to be consumed in adequate amounts by a large proportion of the target individuals in a population. It is also necessary to have access to, and to use, fortificants that are well absorbed yet do not affect the sensory properties of foods. In most cases, it is preferable to use food vehicles that are centrally processed, and to have the support of the food industry. Fortification of food with micronutrients is a valid technology for reducing micronutrient malnutrition as part of a food-based approach when and where existing food supplies and limited access fail to provide adequate levels of the respective nutrients in the diet. In such cases, food fortification reinforces and supports ongoing nutrition improvement programs and should be regarded as part of a broader, integrated approach to prevent Micronutrient Malnutrition, thereby complementing other approaches to improve micronutrient status. – World Health Organization

Republic Act No. 8976 or the Philippine Food Fortification Act of 2000, recognizes that nutritional deficiency problems in the Philippines, based on nutrition surveys, include deficiency in energy, iron, vitamin A, iodine, thiamin and riboflavin. To a minor extent, the Filipino diet is also deficient in ascorbic acid, calcium and folate. It also recognizes that food fortification is vital where there is a demonstrated need to increase the intake of an essential nutrient by one or more population groups, as manifested in dietary, biochemical or clinical evidences of deficiency. Food fortification is considered important in the promotion of optimal health and to compensate for the loss of nutrients due to processing and/or storage of food.

The Philippine Food Fortification Program shall apply to all imported or locally processed foods or food products sold or distributed in the country as:

(1) Voluntary Food Fortification - the Department shall encourage the fortification of all processed foods or food products using the Sangkap Pinoy Seal Program (SPSP), that authorizes food manufacturers to use the DOH seal of acceptance for processed foods or food products, passing the special criteria evaluation of the program, so that recognizing the seal the consumers shall be compelled to select those products with added nutrients improving their diet.

(2) Mandatory Food Fortification, means the fortification of staple foods based on standards sets by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drugs Administration of the Department of Health (FDA) as per the following additions: Rice with Iron; Wheat flour with vitamins A and Iron; Refined sugar with vitamin A; Cooking oil with vitamin A; Salt with Iodine; Other staple foods with nutrients as required by the Governing Board of the National Nutrition Council (NNC).

The National Nutrition Council (NNC) shall require other processed foods or food products to be fortified based on the findings of nutrition surveys. Such requirement shall be promulgated through regulations to be issued by the Department of Health (DOH) through the Food and Drug Administration and other concerned agencies.