The other week I wrote about milk, and how the vitamin D that is used to fortify it is made from vegetable oils. Which is probably why I have a problem with it. I spent a great deal of time trying to find out if cheese and other food with milk use fortified milk or not without success.
It got me thinking about other foods that are fortified. I then went out to see if I could find out if added vitamins have to be listed or are exempt from labeling. Nothing. The FDA website is condescending on the consumer side managing to say absolutely nothing of any substance and was equally obscure on the manufacturing side. I have yet to have a question answered by the FDA website.
The New Zealand site said that all fortifications must be listed on the ingredient sheet. It must be nice to live there.
Somewhat useful are lists of foods that are typically fortified in the US. None of them seem to be complete. So if you are willing to spend some time you can have some ideas of what foods might have vitamins added and some of which vitamins, but not what those vitamins are made of. Most articles imply that products that are fortified list it on the label somewhere but I can’t seem to figure out if they -have- to or if its voluntary. I tried to find out if a consumer can determine what fortifications are made from for allergy purposes. I did not hold out much hope for this and I was not disappointed. Lots of sites talking about how when people have allergies they can be malnourished but nothing about how to identify trigger allergens in vitamins that fortify foods. In fact they encourage people with allergies to eat fortified foods.
It is possible to look up each kind of vitamin that is used in fortification and what they are commonly made from which is what I did with vitamin D. This is fairly time consuming and tells you little about the particular food you are considering buying. Still it can help you avoid foods that might be a problem.
I have to wonder how many allergic reactions are being caused not by food but the so called ‘beneficial’ additions to them.