This paper reviews the fortification of staple food as a tool to prevent micronutrient deficiencies. The rationale for fortifying salt, wheat flour, milk, and margarine was developed in the 1920s and 1940s, mainly in industrialized countries. At that time, fortification of staple foods
was considered by only a few developing countries. Recent research has shown that the prevalences of some deficiencies (clinical and marginal) in some developing countries are higher than expected. Even more important has been the realization that the impact of marginal deficiencies on health
and socio-economic development is considerably more important than the impact of clinical deficiencies. Iron, vitamin A, and iodine have gained more attention, but deficiencies of other micronutrients are also relevant. This paper shows that fortification of staple foods to prevent micronutrient
deficiencies is effective, easy, fast, safe, and relatively inexpensive.
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