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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Select Committee on GRAS Substances (SCOGS) Opinion: Dietary Iron

The GRAS Substances (SCOGS) Database allows access to opinions and conclusions from 115 SCOGS reports published between 1972-1980 on the safety of over 370 Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) food substances. The GRAS ingredient reviews were conducted by the Select Committee in response to a 1969 White House directive by President Richard M. Nixon.

Dietary Iron

  • SCOGS-Report Number: PB-218 836*
  • Type Of Conclusion: There is no conclusion type.
  • ID Code: 7439-89-6
  • Year: 1972
  • 21 CFR Section: There is no CFR citation.

SCOGS Opinion:

OPINION OF THE CONSULTANTS:

1. Majority opinion

The majority of the ad hoc group members agreed that the proposed increase in iron enrichment will not jeopardize the health of U.S. males who have normal iron metabolism. They noted that adult males have always consumed more dietary iron than required to meet their nutritional needs. It is difficult to conceive of any combination of foods, in amounts consumed to meet caloric requirements, that would not provide more iron than the adult male requires. It is believed by some that in the past, beacuse of gretaer physical activity and consumption of greater quantities of food, the average daily intake of iron exceeded that presently proposed (Finch and Monsen, 1972).

If it is accepted that hemochromatosis is an inborn error of metabolism, then it may be concluded that the propsed increase in the iron content of the general diet will not affect the number of individuals who have the inborn error. In addition, the majority of the consultants agreed that the incidence of hemochromatosis will not be increased. The consultants were aware of the published opinions that the rate of accumulation of iron in the latent hemochromatosis may be accelerated and presumably this would result iin an increase in the severity of the clinical manifestations. This opinion is plausible but there is no substantial evidence to prove or disprove it. Thus, it would appear that the proposed increase in the iron content of enriched flour and related products should have little or no untoward effects on iron accumulation of individuals with latent iron storage disorders. However, the consultants acknowledged that all these opinions where based on informed judgment rather than direct experimental evidence and that additional resaerch would be required to resolve conclusively the significance of the amount of dietary iron on iron accumulation. The majority of the consultants indicated that it would be desirable to perform such research algon with implementation of any regulation increasing the iron enrichment of flour and related cereal products. They stated that if and when the proposed regulation is implemented, continuous careful surveillance of representative segments of the U.S. population will be needed not only to evaluate efficacy in the prevention of iron deficiency, but also to provide information as to whether or not there is any effect on the incidence and severity of iron storage disorders.

*Complete reports containing details of the safety studies that formed the basis of the opinions and conclusions and are available from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA 22161 (703) 605-6000.