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expert reaction to news the government will open a consultation on fortifying flour with folic acid

Reactions to news the government will open a consultation on fortifying flour with folic acid.


Prof Nicholas Wald, Professor of Environmental and Preventative Medicine, Wolfson Institute of Preventative Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, said:

“This is a welcome step in the right direction.  Hopefully the consultation process can be completed quickly, with an outcome that will lead to the fortification of flour with folic acid.

“Neural tube defects (including spina bifida and anencephaly) are serious and disabling and affect many more people than the affected individuals.  Everyone would gain from the fortification of flour with folic acid.

“There will undoubtedly now be discussion over the level of fortification, which should be high enough to prevent an estimated half of cases of spina bifida and anencephaly.  Fortification of flour with folic acid provides a safety net; it does not mean that women who may become pregnant no longer need to take a folic acid supplement and the evidence indicates that it should be 5mg a day, to obtain the full level of protection.

“Earlier in the year it was shown that that there was no basis on the grounds of safety for having an upper intake limit1, providing additional reassurance on safety.”

1 ‘Public health failure in the prevention of neural tube defects: time to abandon the tolerable upper intake level of folate’ by Nicholas J. Wald et al. published in Public Health Reviews on Wednesday 31 January 2018



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Declared interests

Prof Nicholas Wald: “None in this area.”

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