BDA welcomes government decision to launch consultation on folic acid fortification13 June 2019
The Department of Health and Social Care have announced a 12-week consultation on proposals to add folic acid to flour to reduce neural tube defects. Ministers estimate that such a policy would prevent up to 200 birth defects a year.
The British Dietetic Association’s Head of External Affairs Jo Instone said:
“This is very welcome news but has been a long time coming. The first clear recommendations to fortify flour with folic acid was made in the early 1990s, and experts from across the UK, including Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) have repeatedly called for the implementation of such a policy. Implementing this change would improve the lives of hundreds of families each year. Neural Tube Defects, such as Spina Bifida, cause moderate to severe disability leading to significant human suffering and higher health care costs. A recent study estimated that more than 2000 NTD pregnancies could have been prevented since 1998 had the UK adopted flour fortification.”
“The 12 week consultation process will allow for a full and frank discussion of this policy and give us an opportunity to set out the very strong, evidence-based case for fortification of flour with folic acid. It will also allow us to allay any fears that people may have. Similar policies have been implemented in over 60 countries around the world already and many have seen significant reductions in neural tube defects as a result.”
The BDA has worked alongside SHINE, the Spina Bifida charity, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and others to campaign for the introduction of this policy for a number of years. You can read more about our campaign and the evidence in support of folic acid fortification on the BDA website.
The Department of Health and Social Care and the Devolved Administrations are now inviting views on the UK-wide proposal as part of a 12-week public consultation, which will explore what kinds of products should be in scope.
- Read more on the Department of Health and Social Care website
- Read the BDA's Folic Acid Food Fact Sheet
- Read about the BDA's work to promote folic acid fortification
- The British Dietetic Association (BDA), founded in 1936, is the professional association and trade union for dietitians in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the nation’s largest organisation of food and nutrition professionals with over 9,500 members.
- Dietitians are highly qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems at an individual and wider public health level. They are statutorily regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), alongside other Allied Health Professions.
- Dietitians use the most up to date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices. They work in the NHS, private practice, industry, education, research, sport, media and government. Their advice influences food and health policy across the spectrum from government and global industry to local communities and individuals.