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FDA ups vitamin D fortification in cereals and grain-based bars

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FDA gave the green light to add more vitamin D to breakfast cereals and grain-based bars.

In response to a petition filed by Kellogg Company, FDA in January amended its food additive regulations to allow for the use of vitamin D3 as a nutrient supplement in breakfast cereals and grain-based bars.

FDA also updated the reference for vitamin D3 specifications to increase the fortification levels of vitamin D allowed within the cereal category.

Per FDA’s amendment, vitamin D3 as a nutrient supplement can be used in breakfast cereals at levels up to 560 IU per 100 grams and in grain-based nutrition bars, including breakfast bars, granola bars and rice-based bars, at levels up to 400 IU per 100 grams.

Kellogg filed the petition with FDA as part of its “Better Days Promise” environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy, which aims, in part, to address the issue of micronutrient deficiencies by fortifying foods with nutrients that are widely underconsumed.

Vitamin D is one such nutrient.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin D for adults is 600 IU per day. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, more than 90% of U.S. adults consume less than the recommended amount of vitamin D. The Dietary Guidelines point consumers toward higher intakes of seafood, as well as vitamin D-fortified foods such as milk, fortified soy beverages and soy yogurt, and whole-grain cereals, to achieve recommended intake levels.

Vitamin D deficiency, per the CDC, can increase risk of osteoporosis in adults and can cause rickets in children, among other health issues.

To come to the conclusion, FDA evaluated various data, including the population’s potential dietary vitamin D exposure under the proposed regulations and how that exposure stacks up against acceptable vitamin D intake levels established by data.

“We reviewed the published reports of scientific studies on vitamin D submitted by Kellogg, as well as other relevant published studies available to us since our previous evaluations of food additive petitions for fortifying a variety of foods with vitamin D,” FDA wrote of the petition. “These studies did not raise any new safety concerns regarding the current or proposed uses of vitamin D.”

Since FDA’s announcement to amend its food additive guidelines, Kellogg launched its Pure Organic Crackers with Cheese and Veggies, which offers 10% daily value of vitamin D and is considered a “good source” of vitamin D. The product is fortified using vitamin D from mushroom powder.

To help consumers identify fortified foods, Kellogg is adding the percent daily value on its “Facts Up Front” packaging callouts of many of its products.

Rachel Adams joined Informa’s Health & Nutrition Network in 2013. Her career in the natural products industry started with a food and beverage focus before transitioning into her role as managing editor of Natural Products INSIDER, where she covered the dietary supplement industry. Adams left Informa Markets in 2019.

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