Britain moving to mandatory folic acid fortification

by Eric Schroeder
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LONDON — The U.K. Food Standards Agency has reaffirmed its recommendation from June 2007 that would make inclusion of folic acid mandatory in bread.

In an Oct. 9 letter sent to Sir Liam Donaldson, chief medical officer for the Department of Health (D.O.H.), the F.S.A. said recently concluded expert advice from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (S.A.C.N.) confirmed earlier evidence supporting the group’s recommendation of mandatory fortification. If the recommendation is accepted by the D.O.H., Britain would become the first European country to make folic acid mandatory.

Before issuing its revised recommendations, the S.A.C.N. reviewed several studies showing a link between folic acid and cancer, particularly colon cancer. Those studies, though, failed to provide a substantial basis for the committee to change its previous recommendation for the introduction of mandatory fortification with folic acid.

"It was agreed that in the event of fortification, concerns about cancer risk should be addressed by careful monitoring of emerging evidence on any adverse effects of folic acid fortification," the S.A.C.N. wrote in its summary.

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