The British have one of the highest rates of birth defects in Europe. The government wants to mitigate the problem and the strategy is to add folic acid to the bread flour.
The UK will begin enriching bread flour with folic acid in an attempt to reduce the serious birth defects that affect about two newborns per week. For decades doctors have called on the UK to follow the example of other countries, about 80 in all, including the United States, and start adding folic acid to prevent developmental defects such as spina bifida, the newspaper reports. The Independent.
Pregnant women and those trying to conceive are already advised to take 400 micrograms daily of this supplement considered essential for brain and neural tube development. However, this crucial stage of fetal development occurs in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and some mothers only realize they are pregnant later, which will be too late to correct deficiencies.
Experts claim that the UK has one of the highest rates of neural tube defects in Europe and that the enrichment of flour with folic acid could solve the problem. A recent study has suggested that two pregnancies are terminated every day in the UK as a result of neural tube defects.
The newspaper The Guardian said that Prime Minister Theresa May supports this plan to add a folic acid supplement to food and thus try to combat the problem. The Royal College of Midwives, which represents midwives, called on the government to introduce mandatory fortification "as soon as possible", considering that "it would significantly help reduce the number of fetal abnormalities related to folic acid deficiencies."