29 May 2012

No delay urged for folic acid fortification

12:17 pm on 29 May 2012

The Paediatric Society says the Government should not delay the mandatory fortification of bread with folic acid.

The society says adding folic acid to bread could prevent between five and 10 people per year being born with neural tube defects, which cause conditions like spina bifida.

The Government delayed the introduction of mandatory fortification in 2009 because of concern about possible side effects.

But the Pediatric Society says studies have shown no link between folic acid and cancer, even in extremely high doses.

The society says a person born with spina bifida will need $1 million worth of hospital treatment by the time they are 20, while the cost of adding folic acid to bread is estimated at a quarter of a cent per loaf.