Nestec Ltd, Nestlé Research Centre, Lausanne, Switzerland.
An evaluation was made into the usefulness of ferrous fumarate as an iron fortificant for an experimental chocolate drink powder targetted to children and adolescents. Organoleptically ferrous furmarate was acceptable when the chocolate drink powder was reconstituted in milk or water that was heated to less than 80 degrees. Unacceptable colour changes occurred, however, when boiling milk or water were used. In human Fe absorption studies when the Fe compounds were added to the chocolate drink immediately before consumption, ferrous fumarate was 3.31% absorbed compared with 2.82% for ferrous sulphate and 2.11% for ferric pyrophosphate. When the Fe compounds were processed during the manufacture of the chocolate drink powder, the absorption of ferrous furmarate was 5.27%, ferrous sulphate 2.62% and ferric pyrophosphate 0.55%. Ascorbic acid had little or no effect on the absorption of ferrous furmarate. It is concluded that food processing can influence the relative absorption of fortification Fe and that, if not reconstituted with boiling milk or water, ferrous fumarate could be a useful compound for the fortification of chocolate drink powders.