Large-Scale Food Fortification: Building nutritious, resilient & sustainable food systems

Currently, USAID and global partners are elevating large-scale food fortification (LSFF) which entails improving the nutritional quality of a food item during the processing stage.

A resilient and sustainable food system includes processed foods that meet quality and safety standards, including LSFF standards for staple foods and condiments.

Fortification provides a safety-net for essential vitamins and minerals, and protects households and families when they are unable to afford or access a diverse diet. It is a solution that has a 100-year track record of success. 

USAID is well-positioned to continue leading efforts for LSFF through global leadership, context-specific expertise, and partnerships with governments, private sector, and civil society. 

LSFF should be an integral part of all Feed the Future programs and can deliver results across the three Strategic Objectives of the Global Food Security Strategy, including our work in private sector engagement and food system policy work. 

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Here is except from the advocacy brief from Large-Scale Food Fortification

The Evidence for Large-Scale Food Fortification
Studies have demonstrated the benefits that well-designed and regulated fortification systems can yield
in multiple countries.

A 2019 systematic review examined the effects of LSFF across a range of food vehicles (including wheat and maize flour, rice, cooking oil, sugar and salt) in multiple countries.

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The results showed that LSFF was associated with a 41% reduction in the odds of neural tube defects and a 34% decline in anemia prevalence, with the greatest impact for women of reproductive age.

It also estimated that LSFF with vitamin A has the potential to reduce global vitamin A deficiency in 2.7 million children per year, protecting children from impaired immune response and altered growth and
development.

Another review published in 2021 showed that zinc-fortified foods, consumed alone or with other vitamins and minerals, decreased the prevalence of zinc deficiency by 55%4.

Evidence also shows that LSFF is cost-efficient: iron fortification of flours costs about US$.05 per person per year and fortification with iodine and zinc is even lower5.

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USAID’S Approach to large-scale Food Fortification
Globally, LSFF has been embraced and practiced by many countries for decades6. Over the past five
decades, USAID has been a leader in mitigating vitamin and mineral inadequacies through multiple and
complementary interventions, including LSFF fortification.

Historically, USAID food fortification initiatives have been primarily funded and driven programmatically by Bureau for Global Health and Mission health offices. However, LSFF has significant and strategic equity under the Economic Growth (EG) & Agriculture portfolios.

LSFF supports the Agency’s efforts to achieve Feed the Future objectives by leveraging a comprehensive food system focus extending beyond the farm level and across market actors, particularly regarding food processing.

Furthermore, it is an intervention that complements and builds on existing EG interventions that are maximizing food systems to improve diets—specifically, private sector engagement, food processing, food safety, policy, and trade.

Ultimately, LSFF should be an integral part of all Feed the Future programs and can deliver results across the three Strategic Objectives of the Global Food Security Strategy, including our work in private sector engagement and food system policy work.

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The Global Agenda for large-scale Food Fortification
A nutritious, resilient and sustainable food system includes processed foods that meet quality and safety
standards, including LSFF standards for staple foods and condiments.

The importance of LSFF is globally recognized and is a re-emerging priority for international convenings in 2021, particularly the UN Food Systems and Nutrition for Growth Summits.

USAID is well-positioned to continue leading efforts for LSFF through global leadership, context-specific expertise, and partnerships with governments, the private sector, and civil society.

With continued commitment and collaboration for such proven and system-based solutions, the vision of dietary adequacy and reducing preventable morbidity and mortality through fortifying foods is one that can be achieved.

Please read the full advocacy brief to learn more.

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