With a population of approximately four million people, Costa Rica has a long history of government policies to improve the country’s public health. Public health initiatives include largescale food fortification, strengthening the primary health care system, sanitation improvements, and deworming campaigns.All rice consumed in Costa Rica is fortified with folic acid, vitamins B1 (thiamin), B3 (niacin), B12 (cobalamin), E, selenium and zinc. As a staple food, 60% of the rice is domestically produced. The fortification of rice, along with that of other staple foods and condiments, helps to increase micronutrient intake.Per capita rice consumption averages 150 g per day, providing approximately 30% of caloric intake. Rice is relatively affordable, and is about 9% of the cost of the basic food basket.Costa Rica’s success in large-scale rice fortification is primarily due to its food fortification experience, its centralized rice industry, government leadership, and private sector support. This article describes Costa Rica’s fortified rice program and analyzes the key factors in its success.
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