Staple crops biofortified with increased vitamins and minerals: considerations for a public health strategy

M.N. Garcia-Casal*, J.P. Peña-Rosas, B. Giyose, A. Melse-Boonstra, E.F. Talsma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Biofortification of staple crops has been proposed as a strategy to address micronutrient malnutrition, particularly with respect to insufficient intake of vitamin A, iron, zinc, and folate. The World Health Organization, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences, convened a technical consultation entitled “Staple Crops Biofortified with Vitamins and Minerals: Considerations for a Public Health Strategy” in April 2016. Participants of the consultation reviewed the definition of biofortification of staple crops, patterns of crops production, processing, consumption, seed varieties, and micronutrient stability and bioavailability, as well as farmers’ adoption and acceptability of the modified crops. Also discussed were economic, environmental, safety, and equity aspects of biofortified crops, as well as legal, policy, regulatory, and ethical issues for the implementation of biofortification strategies in agriculture and nutrition. Consultation working groups identified important and emerging technical issues, lessons learned, and research priorities to better support the evidence of improved nutrition and unintended adverse effects of biofortification. This paper provides the background and rationale of the technical consultation, synopsizes the presentations, and provides a summary of the main considerations proposed by the working groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-13
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy Of Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2017


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