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RCOG policy briefing: Folic acid fortification in flour and bread – addendum to Scientific Impact Paper

News 4 November 2015

The RCOG has updated its Scientific Impact Paper Periconceptional Folic Acid and Food Fortification in the Prevention of Neural Tube Defects (2004) following requests on the latest evidence on folic acid food fortification.

Findings

There have been doubts expressed over the safety of folic acid fortification in food because of the associated risks of cancer. A report by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) dispelled these fears. Based on these and other findings, the SACN continues to support mandatory fortification with safeguards, as do a growing number of medical bodies.

We have published these updated findings in an addendum to the Scientific Impact Paper.

Recommendations

The RCOG continues to support preconception supplementation of 400 micrograms of folic acid daily for women wishing to become pregnant until their 12th week of pregnancy, as recommended in the NICE clinical guidelines Antenatal care and Maternal and child nutrition. This is also a recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Regarding mandatory fortification of folic acid in flour and bread, the RCOG supports the SACN’s view that safeguards are needed, including:

  • Controls on voluntary fortification by the food industry
  • Guidance on supplement use for certain population groups
  • Monitoring of the long-term effects of folic acid intake above the daily guidance limits

Contact us

For more information about the RCOG’s policy and public affairs activities, please contact us on policy@rcog.org.uk or +44 20 7772 6446.