FSRH press statement: RCOG/FSRH joint statement in response to the Government announcement of consultation on fortifying flour with folic acid

Posted 23 October 2018

Date: 23 Oct 2018

Type: FSRH Press Releases and Statements

Public Health Minister Steve Brine will today announce that the Government plans to consult on the mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid in a bid to tackle foetal abnormalities.

Commenting in response, Dr Alison Wright, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and Vice President for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said:

“The RCOG has long supported calls to fortify flour with folic acid across the UK as a public health measure to prevent birth defects in babies. We will continue to work together with politicians and charities to achieve this.

“There are approximately 1,000 diagnoses of birth defects in the UK, such as anencephaly and spina bifida per year, 85% of which currently result in an abortion. The evidence is clear that fortification will prevent around half of these defects.

“Fortifying flour with folic acid is a simple, safe and evidence-based measure that will reach women who don’t receive enough folic acid through their diet, as well as those who may not have planned their pregnancy. This is a real opportunity to improve outcomes for families and society as a whole.”

Dr Asha Kasliwal, President of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), said:

“We are pleased that Public Health Minister Steve Brine will announce today that the Government will consult on the mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid.

"FSRH alongside other colleagues has long called on the Government to introduce this simple yet highly-effective measure to prevent neural tube defects in babies and improve the long-term health of the population.

"Currently, many women of childbearing age are not receiving enough folic acid from their diets, and we know that almost half of pregnancies are unplanned. Folic acid fortification will help to ensure that pregnant women will have higher chances of delivering a healthy baby.”


Note to Editors

For media enquiries, please contact the RCOG press office on 020 7045 6773 or email pressoffice@rcog.org.uk and/or FSRH on 02037945309 or email externalaffairsofficer@fsrh.org

The RCOG statement on a study which shows there is no need for an upper limit of folate intake

The RCOG continues to support preconception supplementation of 400 micrograms of folic acid daily for women wishing to become pregnant until their 12th week of pregnancy, as recommended in the NICE clinical guidelines Antenatal care and Maternal and child nutrition.

This is also a recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO).

About the RCOG
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is a medical charity that champions the provision of high-quality women’s healthcare in the UK and beyond. It is dedicated to encouraging the study and advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. It does this through postgraduate medical education and training and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision.

About FSRH
The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) is the largest UK professional membership organisation working at the heart of sexual and reproductive health (SRH), supporting healthcare professionals to deliver high quality care. It works with its 15,000 members, to shape sexual reproductive health for all. It produces evidence-based clinical guidance, standards, training, qualifications and research into SRH. It also delivers conferences and publishes the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health in partnership with the BMJ.