Fortified cereals are those that include added micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, that were not in the original food. Cereal may also be considered fortified when manufacturers add nutrients to refined grains that were originally in the cereal.
Most cereals are made with refined grains that have been stripped of the husks, germ and other plant parts that contain the bulk of their nutrients. In order to counter this, many manufacturers replace the lost nutrients with natural or synthetic substitutes in a process called enrichment, which is often confused with fortification.
There are some concerns about relying on fortified foods to supply essential nutrients, including the risk of ingesting too much of specific vitamins or minerals. Many nutritionists, including those at the Harvard School of Public Health, recommend obtaining some necessary nutrients, such as folate, naturally from whole food sources or as part of a balanced supplement to avoid that risk.