About the Food Fortification Initiative (FFI)

Thank you for your interest in fortification. The Food Fortification Initiative (FFI) helps country leaders promote, plan, implement, and monitor fortification of industrially milled wheat flour, maize flour, and rice. FFI is the only global group that focuses exclusively on these three commonly consumed grains.

Established in 2002, FFI is a public-, private-, and civic-sector partnership that maximizes strengths and avoids duplication of efforts. For sustainability, FFI helps countries develop programs that do not rely on outside funding. Key national leaders are government officials, industry managers, civic sector organizers, and staff of non-governmental organizations.

The nutrients most commonly used in post-harvest grain fortification are iron and folic acid (vitamin B9). Iron reduces the risk of iron deficiency anemia which leads to debilitating fatigue, lowered productivity, and increased risk of maternal deaths. Insufficient folic acid increases the risk of children having birth defects of the brain and spine such as spina bifida. Even with excellent healthcare, these may be fatal or permanently disabling.

Other essential nutrients that can be added to most grains are calcium, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc and the B vitamins niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, and B 12. People need these nutrients all of their lives, from conception through adolescence and aging.

FFI tracks country and global progress in grain fortification. In addition, see regional activity in Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, India, Middle East and the Pacific.

An Executive Management Team (EMT) representing global leaders in the public, private, and civic sectors provides FFI's strategic direction. A small FFI Global Secretariat is based at Emory University adjacent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. In addition, individual staff members are based in Canada, India, The Netherlands, Thailand, and Uganda.

In 2017, contributions to FFI totaled USD 2.06 million. Donors included governments, corporations, foundations, individuals, non-governmental organizations, and United Nations agencies. See details in the 2017 Annual Report.

See summaries of future opportunities for wheat flour and rice fortification in India, rice fortification in West Africa, and gaining political will for wheat flour and rice fortification in China.

 

Executive Management Team members, observers, and several FFI staff toured an Interflour wheat mill in Viet Nam in April 2018. Photo by Bob Lubitz. 

By The Numbers

A 2015 study found that 35,500 birth defects of the brain and spine were prevented in one year due to flour being fortified with folic acid - that's an average of 97 healthier babies every day!

Currently 86 countries require fortification of wheat flour, maize products, and/or rice.

Ten countries fortify more than half of their wheat or maize flour even though it is not mandatory.

We estimate that 31.3% of industrially milled wheat flour, 64.6% of industrially milled maize flour, and 0.8% of industrially milled rice is fortified with at least iron or folic acid globally. See the 2017 Annual Report for details on how we arrive at these estimates.

E-mail us at info@ffinetwork.org to request a spreadsheet with specific data.