Folic acid will be added to flour to prevent birth defects

Folic acid will be added to all flour to stop thousands of children being born with birth defects, such as spina bifida, it was reported last night.

The government is expected to announce a u-turn within weeks after resisting the move for 
26 years. In 1991 the largest trial of its type at the time established a link between the diseases, known collectively as neural tube defects (NTD), and low levels of folic acid in mothers during the early part of pregnancy.

Eighty-one countries, including the US, subsequently introduced the mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid because only approximately one third of women follow advice to supplement their diet. Britain did not follow suit, partly on the basis of a study by the American Institute of Medicine which indicated a risk of neurological damage if folic acid levels become too high.

However following pressure from scientists, and ongoing recommendations from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), Downing Street is to make fortification mandatory, according to The Guardian.  The Royal Society of Medicine also said that the decision was ‘long overdue’ while charities said it was ‘gamechanging.’

Source  - Telegraph