Diane Wright Hoffpauer, Light Heart, LLC, Crowley, Louisiana
RICE: Chemistry and Technology, Third Edition
The most significant change in the enrichment of rice in the past several years is the addition of folic acid to the U.S. standard of identity for rice and other cereal grains. As research reveals new insights into the treatment and prevention of disease with nutrients, traditional suppliers of cereal grains have responded accordingly, with various kinds of enrichment and fortification in items such as breakfast cereals, food bars, and snack foods. The market for functional foods using cereal grains as an ingredient has also increased in the last decade. Before adding folic acid to the standard of identity for cereal grains to prevent neural tube defects (NTDs), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted an extensive three-year study on the feasibility of adding folic acid to grain products. This study period included discussions by food and medical professionals, manufacturers, and the public. The evidence of the positive benefits of folic acid enrichment proved overwhelming. This is just one of many cases in which enrichment and fortification of cereal and other foods made a significant impact on the prevention of disease.
Enrichment generally refers to the restoration of vitamins and minerals lost during processing. Fortification generally means adding vitamins and minerals to foods in higher amounts than were present before processing. Before the standards of identity were adopted to define enriched foods, the term fortification was used when any vitamins and minerals were added to foods (Hoffpauer and Wright, 1994).