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Revista Brasileira de Hematologia e Hemoterapia

versão impressa ISSN 1516-8484

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MARTINS, José Murilo. Considerations on the food fortification policy in Brazil. Rev. Bras. Hematol. Hemoter. [online]. 2011, vol.33, n.2, pp.158-163. ISSN 1516-8484.  http://dx.doi.org/10.5581/1516-8484.20110039.

Government health authorities approved, in December 2002, the ANVISA (National Sanitary Vigilance Agency) resolution number 344, making the addition of iron and folic acid to all wheat and maize flours industrialized in Brazil obligatory. After a brief review of iron deficiency, iron overload and folic acid deficiency several questions and remarks need to be made about this universal food fortification program. Iron salts and folic acid are drugs widely used in medicine and they may present undesirable side effects. There are potential risks with offering iron to the normal population for a long period of time and to patients with iron overload. Other important remarks are: there is no medical follow up of this treatment in the Brazilian population; patients can decide the quantity of foods (and of these nutrients) that they want to ingest; fortified foods may correct iron deficiency anemia but not necessarily the causes, which include gastrointestinal neoplasms; and folic acid in the diet may interfere with several treatment protocols that use folic acid antagonists, such as methotrexate. Finally, with the exception of some social programs, the costs of treatment using fortified foods are passed on to the population. Considering that Brazil has 330,000 active medical doctors it is suggested that our Health Ministry should invite them to take care of these important medical conditions.

Palavras-chave : Anemia, iron-deficiency; Iron overload; Folic acid deficiency; Food, fortified.

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