UK introduces folic acid fortification of flour to prevent neural tube defects

Paul Haggarty*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

Abstract

30 years ago the MRC Vitamin Study Research Group, led by Professor Sir Nicholas Wald, reported that folic acid supplementation for women around the time of conception reduced the risk of serious neural tube defects (NTDs; anencephaly, spina bifida, and encephalocele) in their babies.1 That study led to the introduction of mandatory folic acid fortification of staples such as flour in more than 80 countries in an effort to reduce the incidence of NTDs. As recently as July, 2021, New Zealand mandated fortification with folic acid.2 In 2019 there was a public consultation in the UK on options for folic acid fortification3 and on Sept 20, 2021, the UK Government announced it will introduce the mandatory fortification of non-wholemeal wheat flour with folic acid.4
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1199-1201
Number of pages3
JournalLancet
Volume398
Issue number10307
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2021

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