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Enriching Flour, Enriching Lives: The Flour Fortification Initiative

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1. Smarter, Taller, Stronger
Wheat, the "Staff of Life", has been an essential commodity to human existence through the centuries and is currently the most widely consumed staple food (Bagriansky, 2002). As versatile as they are nutritious, wheat products have graced tables in all continents. The range of forms this staple food takes is correspondingly varied: crusty French bread, soft Mexican tortillas and spicy Indonesian noodles being a few examples. Fortunately for wheat eaters, wheat flour naturally contains many nutrients essential to human growth and development (Ranum and Wesley, 2003).
Wheat is important not only to stimulate appetite; it also plays an important role in ending "hidden hunger". "Hidden hunger" is caused by subtle vitamin and mineral inadequacies which show themselves over time in the reduced productive capacity of individuals and nations (Gautam, 2003). Vitamin and mineral deficiencies cause "hunger" because the body wil…

Flour Fortification

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1.4. Fortification of Flour with Vitamins Fortification of flour with the aim of creating a balanced food was practised as early as the late 19th century. At that time, however, the supplementation carried out was rather unspecific since the chemical structure of the constituents assumed to be essential was not known. The substances added included wheat germs, yeasts and also milk powder, since these were known to have favourable nutritional properties.
Specific fortification did not become possible until the late 1930 s, as more and more vitamins were produced synthetically. In the USA it became permissible as early as 1938 to fortify flour with the micronutrients vitamin B1, niacin and iron to prevent diseases such as beriberi, pellagra and iron deficiency anaemia. The next step followed in 1943, when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented mandatory guide-lines for the level of fortification for the micro-nutrients already used and the additional use of vitamin B2. Duri…

Flour Fortification

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1.2. Vitamins of the Wheat Kernel All the vitamins except A, B12 and C are to be found in wheat kernels, although some of them are only present in traces. The watersoluble vitamins B1, B2, B6 as well as niacin and pantothenic acid predominate. The vitamins are not evenly distributed in the grain. Tab. 79 shows that they are more or less strictly compartmented.
If the weight of the three fractions is considered as a percentage of the total weight of the grain (bran 15%, germ 2-3%, endosperm 83%), the high vitamin content of the bran and germ fractions becomes even more obvious.
If undamaged wheat kernels are stored under appropriate conditions, their vitamin content remains practically unchanged for years. But if the cereal grains are subjected to processing at a mill, their vitamin content is inevitably reduced since vitamins are sensitive to outside influences such as pH, atmospheric oxygen, light and temperature. Therefore, under unfavourable conditions, particularly sensitive vita…

Flour Fortification

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1. Vitamins and Flour
1.1. Introduction Long before the vitamins were discovered and their chemical structures analyzed, it was already known that certain diseases and symptoms such as scurvy and night blindness can be prevented by eating specific foods. But it was not until the end of the 19th century that the vitamins were tracked down as a result of research into beriberi, a disease that was especially common in parts of Asia. Specific feeding experiments showed that the feed of the healthy animals in the tests clearly contained some other substances essential to life besides the known constituents such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The chemical analysis of one of these substances showed that the compound concerned – it was in fact thiamine (vitamin B1) – contained an amino group. So in 1912 Casimir Funk suggested adopting the term vitamin (from vita, the Latin word for life and amine, a chemical compound with an amino group) to designate the entire group of substances. And a…

Composite Flours

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5.3. Europe and North America These two continents produce sufficient quantities of bread cereals, so theoretically they have no need to market and use composite flours at all. But constantly widening ranges of bread and small baked goods and the emergence of certain types of bread as "functional food" have led to an interest in mixtures of wheat flour with other agricultural raw materials (Abdel-Kader, 2000; De Ruiter and Kim, 1969).
Composite flours are an ideal partner in programmes to combat coeliac disease. In making up composite flours it is important to ensure that they contain no wheat, rye, triticale, barley or oats at all. Instead, they may contain products derived from rice, millet or buckwheat, maize or wheat starch, cassava flour and starch, potato starch or soy grits; milk and egg products and also vegetable swelling substances may be used additionally. Even in normal bread production, more and more vegetable substances that are not bread cereals are now being …

Composite Flours

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5. Composite Flours in Different Continents The ingredients used in composite flours must take account of the raw materials available in the country concerned. The objective is to save as much expensive imported wheat as possible when making bakery products.
5.1. South America In the late 1960s, tests were carried out in Brazil in which 75% wheat flour was mixed with the relevant amounts of potato, maize or cassava flour. The baking tests were conducted on the basis of the Chorleywood bread process. The same flours were used as raw materials for biscuits, but the proportion of wheat flour was reduced to 50%. There is no evidence that these experiments have been put to practical use. A limiting factor is that the use of potassium bromate for treating wheat flours is prohibited (Berghofer, 2000); however, flour improvers containing enzymes are now available as an effective substitute.
5.2. Africa Most of the trials with composite flours have been carried out in this continent because of …

Composite Flours

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4. Examples of Recipes for Various Baked Goods Made from Composite Flours The following are a few typical examples of the numerous recipes published in the 1960s and 1970s.
4.1. Bread and Small Baked Products

Tab. 72 contains a recipe for bread and small baked products based on 70% wheat flour. The flour mixture is supplemented with 25% maize or cassava starch or flour and 5% soy flour. The emulsifier used is CSL in the amount of 0.5% of the total flour. Of course there are recommended recipes in which no flour at all was used. Tab. 73 is a formulation for bread / small baked products based on cassava starch/flour and deoiled soy flour. In this case the emulsifier used was glyceryl monostearate at a dose of 1% of the total amount of flour (Bugusu et al., 2001; Anon., 2000).
4.2. Pastry Goods
Most of the practical trials in the pastry goods sector were carried out with biscuits, since biscuits usually have a long shelf-life. Tab. 74 shows a biscuit recipe with 70% wheat flour and 30% so…