Mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid will become UK policy, in an effort to reduce neural tube defects such as spina bifida, after a long running campaign backed by the MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East.
Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland, a charity based in Mr McDonald’s constituency and for whom he ran the London Marathon to raise funds, has repeatedly called on the UK Government to heed the advice of medical experts and embrace compulsory folic fortification. The announcement of a consultation on implementing the change came during a recent question session in the House of Commons.
Intake of folic acid has been proven to reduce the number of pregnancies affected by neural tube defects, of which spina bifida is the most common, and of the 81 countries who have taken the step of mandating the fortification of flour, none have reversed it.
Commenting, Mr McDonald said:
“The issue is particularly pressing in Scotland, where folic acid levels are particularly low and proportionately more children are born with spina bifida than in other parts of the UK.
“I am pleased that Ministers have recognised this and welcome their decision to follow the USA, Canada and Australia in making mandatory the fortification of flour with folic acid to reduce birth defects.”