Adding Folate to Flour may Reduce Risk of Spina Bifida

by Rajashri on Sep 13 2009 12:01 AM

Professor Leonie Segal, who was engaged by Food Standards Australia New Zealand to assess the feasibility of adding folic acid to flour, has said that fortification of bread with folic acid may not be the best solution around.

Despite this advice, bread in this area will be fortified with the addition of folic acid to prevent neural tube defects.

"If you're only talking about a small percentage of the population that you're targeting, putting folate in the bread flour for everyone wouldn't be your first choice," said Prof Segal. "One of our concerns was if, in fortifying our bread supply, (we think) 'well, we've now solved the problem' and there isn't continued effort to encourage women to continue to take folate supplementation."

FSANZ chief scientist Dr Paul Brent said that fortifying bread with folic acid would reduce the incidence of neural tube defects like spina bifida by 14 percent.