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Why does Bimbo fortify its flours?


Because many staple consumption foods are made from white wheat and corn flour (such as bread and tortillas), health authorities in some countries require flour fortification. This addition not only brings micronutrients that flour loses during milling but also those necessary to reduce significant dietary deficiencies in the population. For example, adding folic acid and iron to the general public’s dietary intake can help prevent diseases such as anemia and spina bifida, among others.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends fortifying flour in its document "Recommendations on fortifying wheat and corn flour," which serves as a guide for governments to implement fortification in their local regulations.

According to the WHO, "When properly implemented, the fortification of industrially processed wheat and corn flour is an effective, simple, and inexpensive strategy for providing vitamins and minerals to large segments of the population worldwide."

Among its recommendations, the WHO mentions the importance of flour fortification and establishes guidelines for adding micronutrients such as iron, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin A, and zinc. They are "five essential micronutrients for public health in developing countries."

These guidelines are intended to be a reference framework for the implementation of flour fortification policies in different countries. Currently, 82 countries have established mandatory regulatory frameworks for the fortification of wheat flour.

In Mexico, it is mandatory to fortify all wheat and corn flour intended for human consumption, according to official standards and laws regarding production of grain-based foods (Official Mexican Standard NOM-247-SSA1-2008). As a result, all products — both artisanal and industrialized — that include wheat flour or corn flour must have this benefit. The flour you buy to make homemade cakes or bread is likely fortified. You can check for fortification in the product’s ingredient list.

For a flour to be considered fortified in Mexico, it must meet specific characteristics established by the Ministry of Health. It must be supplemented with folic acid, sulfate, or ferrous fumarate (as a source of iron); zinc oxide (as a source of zinc); thiamin mononitrate (as a source of vitamin B1); riboflavin (vitamin B2); and nicotinamide (as a source of vitamin B3). These additions must be in the quantities defined by the regulation and declared on the product’s packaging (either as a final product or as an ingredient) as indicated in NOM 247. In the case of flours for direct consumption (those you find in the supermarket), the sources of micronutrients added should be broken down. If flour is used as a raw material, it should be indicated only as wheat flour or fortified corn. If any other additive is added to the flour, it must be declared in the list of ingredients. The process mentioned above regulates additives that can be added to flour.