Folic acid will be
added to non-wholemeal wheat flour across the UK to help prevent
life-threatening spinal conditions in babies. Adding folic acid will mean foods
made with flour, such as bread, will actively help avoid around 200 neural tube
defects each year – around 20% of the annual UK total.
Non-wholemeal flour is already an established vehicle for fortification in the UK and the costs of fortification to industry are expected to be minimal. The addition of folic acid to food has been a successful public health policy in a number of countries worldwide such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, resulting in falls in neural tube defects.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Few things are as important as a baby’s health – and folic acid-fortified flour is a quick, simple win to enhance their development. This will give extra peace of mind to parents and families, as well as helping boost the health of adults across the country.”