Study supports vitamin D fortification of bread

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Folic acid fortification Vitamin

Bakery manufacturers could soon find themselves obliged to fortify
bread with vitamin D, following the results of a new study.

The research undertaken by the Centre for Food, Nutrition and Agriculture (CFNA) at Maryland University could pave the way for fortification of other grain-based foods if successfully implemented.

Vitamin D aids the absorption of calcium - lack of which can damage bone density and lead to osteoporosis - and therefore many scientists have suggested that it has a strong link to bone health.

Unveiled at the Institute of Food Technologist's (IFT) conference last week, findings from the study showed that fortifying whole wheat bread with vitamin D would be beneficial to consumers as, in tests, those who consumed the fortified bread were found to have increased their intake of vitamin D by 10%.

Speaking at the IFT conference, Richard Forshee who co-authored the CFNA study, said: "Our results suggest it would take a broader application than just whole grains because we would miss a significant part of the population."

The CFNA study showed that vitamin D deficiency was most prevalent among the 55+ age group.

Deficiency of the vitamin has also been associated with certain types of cancer. In the EU, the current recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin D is five microgrammes.

Bread is a popular choice for addressing nutrient deficiencies as the vitamins are distributed evenly through the product and can be added easily in the manufacturing process.

It is consumed widely and evenly across all sectors of the population and is not cost-prohibitive, given that it is less expensive than vitamin supplements.

At the moment, vitamin D is added to a range of products worldwide, most of these being breakfast cereals, but no legislation exists to make the supplements mandatory.

The study comes in the wake of the UK's moves towards mandatory folic acid fortification of bread - a practice that is already used in several countries such as the US and Chile.

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) are currently investigating the effect folic acid fortification would have with a view to implementing it throughout the UK in milled flour products.

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