In partnership with Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland (SBHS), QNIS has prepared a briefing paper encouraging support for Folic Acid Fortification.
The addition of folic acid to flour is intended to reduce the number of neural tube defects (NTDs) in foetuses, and is currently being considered by the UK Government.
Our partner in developing this briefing, SBHS, cites evidence that 91% of women of childbearing age have a folate level lower than the threshold for the avoidance of NTDs. This leads to estimates that one or two children with an NTD are being conceived every day.
By fortifying flour at source, it will ensure women of childbearing age have an increased level of folate, therefore reducing the number of NTDs in both planned and unplanned pregnancies.
In August 2017, Food Standards Scotland announced that fortifying flour in Scotland alone was not practical or cost effective, and any strategy would have to be UK-wide.
In December 2017, a joint letter from the Scottish and Welsh Governments to then Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt called for him to take action on a UK-wide basis.
The consultation at Westminster remains open until the 9th September.