Vitamins and Minerals: A Model for Safe Addition to Foods

European Journal of Nutrition. 2003;42(2):118-130

Significant subgroups in most European populations have intakes below nationally recommended levels for several vitamins, minerals and trace elements, placing individuals at risk of suboptimal intake of important vitamins and minerals. The voluntary addition of micronutrients to the appropriate foods may help addressing the risks associated with low micronutrient intakes. However, concerns need to be addressed regarding the potential for unacceptably high intakes, particularly for those people consuming very large amounts of food.

The study developed a theoretical model to estimate the level of each micronutrient that can be added safely to foods. The model was based on the critical factors which determine the risk of unacceptably high intake for each micronutrient at high levels of food / energy intakes. A maximum level was set up for each micronutrient per typical serving or per 100 kcal portion. Three categories of micronutrients were identified, in which micronutrients could be added safely to foods at levels 1) greater than 1 European Commission Recommended Daily Intake (EC RDA), 2) between 50 an 100% of the EC RDA and 3) between 10 and 40% of the EC RDA. A fourth category for which high end intake levels are for some population subgroups in Europe close to the tolerable upper intake level, requires further consideration.

The study concluded that a wide range of vitamins and minerals could be added safely to foods at nutritionally important levels in the current diets of Europeans.

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