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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-03191
Asked by: Gillian Martin, Aberdeenshire East, Scottish National Party
Date lodged: 20 September 2021

Question

To ask the Scottish Government when the results of the joint four nation consultation on mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid will be published.

Current status: Answered by Maree Todd on 20 September 2021


Answer

I am pleased to confirm today that the Scottish Government will proceed with a four nation approach to introduce mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid. I have agreed with the administrations of the UK (in relation to England), Wales, and Northern Ireland that we will take forward the fortification of non-wholemeal wheat flour on a UK-wide basis, which was the ‘baseline’ option in the consultation.

Scottish Ministers have long advocated for the mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in foetuses. There is strong evidence that many neural tube defects can be prevented by increasing women’s intake of folic acid. Mandatory fortification is an effective way of reaching people with the lowest folate intakes, often younger women from the most socioeconomically deprived areas.

The Scottish Government will now work together with the other administrations of the UK to engage with stakeholders on the details of the fortification and labelling requirements, including on appropriate lead-in times. In order to minimise impacts on industry, this will be co-ordinated as part of a wider review of The Bread and Flour Regulations 1998 and The Bread and Flour (Northern Ireland) Regulations 1998 being undertaken by Defra – alongside the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland and Wales, Food Standards Scotland, the UK Government, the Northern Ireland Executive and the Scottish and Welsh Governments.

The full results of the four nation consultation on mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid and our joint policy response will be published as soon as possible.