This week it’s been announced that all flour is to be fortified with folic acid, after ministers acted on the advice of medical experts, who say mandatory fortification will reduce the number of babies born in the UK with serious birth defects.
The policy, which will be introduced within weeks, comes after ministers were convinced by their own advisers that it would reduce the risk of babies developing spina bifida and other neural tube defects.
Until now, ministers in successive governments have ignored pleas to allow mandatory folic fortification, but the move has now been approved after a long-running campaign by doctors, scientists and baby health campaigners.
It is indeed great news. After all, micronutrient deficiency is rife in the UK and across the world. Therefore, fortification and supplementation is a huge step forward in the battle to improve the health of the nation.
According to the International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA), supplements offer a safe, effective and cost-efficient means to deliver real health benefits to citizens of all nations and states.
With the world’s population ageing, and healthcare budgets under pressure globally, IADSA says the potential for supplement utilisation to help reduce the cost of medical treatment through prevention of certain conditions is, without doubt, a subject that warrants further investigation and consideration.
And as the majority of us struggle to eat a healthy, balanced diet (and would therefore benefit enormously from supplementation and fortification) I couldn’t agree more.