Generally, fortification of foods have proven beneficial to people over the past years as it restores the nutrients that may have been lost in food processing and also enhances the vitamins that the food contain. Examples of food fortification include the addition of Vitamin C, to an orange drink, Vitamin D to dairy products, and Vitamins B1 and B2 to bread, among many others. However, while food fortification is generally considered beneficial to consumers, a recent article, Folic Acid Fortification: One Size May Not Fit It All, which was published in Natural News.
com, showed that foods fortified with folic acid increase the risk of colon cancer. While I am in generally in favor of the fortification of foods, the article made me think twice before consuming foods that are high in folic acid. Although the article showed that folic acid had a number of benefits, particularly the 20 per cent reduction of birth defects of the spinal cord and the central nervous system, it still had health risks which, for me, should be greatly considered before taking in foods that are high in folic acid.
In addition, even though the number of benefits outweigh the risks when consuming food that are fortified with folic acid, I believe that food manufacturers, nutritionists and members of the health sector should further conduct a collaborative and in-depth study on folic acid-fortified foods before they are made available for public consumption. The findings of the study should be then showed to the public so that people are aware of the risks of eating too much of a certain food. Another option which I believe would greatly avoid the risks of consuming food fortified with folic acid is the modification of food labeling.
At present, food labeling is mandatory. However, it only shows the amount of nutrients, carbohydrates, calories, cholesterol, and other contents of the food and not the risks associated with it. In this regard, I would recommend that food manufacturers label fortified foods which contain substances that have known health risks in such a way that the people or consumers can see what exactly the risks are. For example, if a food is high in folic acid, which were shown to increase the risks of colon cancer, its label should clearly indicate that too much consumption of this food can lead to the colon cancer or should at least contain a warning.
Furthermore, I also believe one way to lessen the risks of consuming foods fortified with folic acid, is for the government to make the public more aware of the exact content of the food and the dangers associated with them. Nevertheless, the article stated that only those who consume too much food fortified with folic acid are at risk for colon cancer, which means that these kinds of food are relatively safe if consumed moderately. The bottom line is people should always be aware of the exact content of the food they are eating in order to avoid possible health risks.