Flour to be fortified with Folic Acid

Published on: 22/10/2018

Back in April, we wrote about a study that urged for flour in the UK to be fortified with folic acid in order to reduce neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly. Recent reports in the media now suggest that this is likely to be announced as mandatory by the government within the next few weeks.

Clare Livingstone who is the Professional Policy Advisor for the Royal College of Midwives welcomes the news, saying:

‘Many pregnancies are not planned, meaning many women will not have taken folic acid around the time of conception and very early in their pregnancy. This is when folic acid is most effective and that is why this announcement – if correct – is so important.

‘This will significantly help to reduce the number of fetal anomalies related to folic acid deficiency. This means fewer babies will be born with neural tube defects, and the sooner this is done, the sooner this will start to happen.

‘We urge the government to introduce this as soon as possible.’

Tommy’s reports that “the UK currently has one of the highest rates of neural tube defects in Europe, with around 2 babies a week in a serious condition.”

80 other countries around the world already fortify their flour with folic acid to prevent neural tube defects. Taking enough folic acid in pregnancy is estimated to reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) by as much as 70 per cent.