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 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 2018, contributions to FFI totaled USD 2.3 million. Donors included governments, corporations, foundations, individuals, non-governmental organizations, and United Nations agencies. See details in the 2018 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.

Top photo: Executive Management Team members, observers, and several FFI staff met with the Folate Task Team in April 2019 in Atlanta at the offices of the Task Force for Global Health. Photo from Nutrition International.

By The Numbers

An estimated 50,270 brain and spine birth defects were prevented in 2017 due to flour being fortified with folic acid - that's an average of 137 healthier babies every day!

Currently 83 countries require fortification of wheat flour, maize products, and/or rice.

We estimate that 32% of industrially milled wheat flour, 54% of industrially milled maize flour, and 1% of industrially milled rice is fortified with at least iron or folic acid globally. See the 2018 Annual Report for details on how we arrive at these estimates.

See your country profile and e-mail us at info@ffinetwork.org with any corrections.