Putting folic acid into bread could raise rates of bowel cancer, Britain's chief medical officer has warned.
Sir Liam Donaldson said more research was needed before he could approve the measure, which is designed to reduce birth defects.
The controversial proposal to mass medicate the population by fortifying flour with the B vitamin is backed by the Food Standards Agency.
Some 13 million Britons do not consume enough folic acid, which is found in green leafy vegetables. The vitamin is key to the brain development of foetuses, and so pregnant women are advised to take 400 micrograms a day.
However, there are concerns that mandatory fortification could raise the incidence of diseases such as breast and bowel cancer. Consuming high levels of folic acid could be dangerous for a range of people, including those with arthritis or blocked arteries.
With the plan waiting to be approved by ministers, Sir Liam has stepped in. He has demanded more research into the potential link between folic acid and bowel cancer, which could take months to complete.
Source - Daily Mail