Fortified foods: About fortification

Vitamins, mineral nutrients and amino acids can be added or increased in foods to restore or improve their nutritional quality. This process is called fortification.

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Why foods are fortified

Health Canada’s fortification policy helps prevent nutrient deficiencies in the population and maintain or improve the nutritional quality of the food supply.

We only permit or require that specific foods be fortified to:

Some types of foods may contain added vitamins, mineral nutrients or amino acids for reasons other than fortification purposes. These foods are regulated as supplemented foods under the Supplemented Foods Regulations.

How foods are fortified

Manufacturers typically fortify foods by directly adding vitamins, mineral nutrients or amino acids. They may also use other methods, such as biofortification or by adding concentrated nutrient sources.

Regardless of the method used, manufacturers must comply with the regulations.


Biofortification is the process of deliberately increasing the vitamin, mineral nutrient or amino acid content of plants or animal products. For example, this is done by:

Ingredients used as concentrated nutrient sources

Some food processing techniques can enhance the natural nutrient content of a food ingredient. This can result in a food ingredient becoming a concentrated nutrient source.

Concentrated nutrient sources can include fruit, vegetable or algae concentrates, extracts or powders. Adding concentrated nutrient sources to foods can be a way of fortifying foods.

Concentrated nutrient sources are considered fortificants when they:

Mandatory and voluntary fortification

Fortification is mandatory for some foods. For example, table salt must contain iodine.

For other foods, fortification is voluntary. For example, breakfast cereals may contain added thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, folic acid, magnesium, iron and zinc.

The regulations include a table of the foods that may or must be fortified and the nutrients that may or must be added to them.

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