Report on Update of Folic Acid Fortification
In August 2011, FGC and the New Zealand Baking Industry Trust commissioned a report into folic acid fortification to get an update on the science. This was conducted by Professor A. David Smith, of the Department of Pharmacology at Oxford University, and Professor Helga Refsum, of the Department of Nutrition, University of Oslo. They have a combined total of 50 years’ experience in the research of folate, and have published some 130 publications in these fields.
The purpose of the report was to review scientific and clinical research on the public health and safety aspects of the addition of folic acid to food and/or consumption by humans which has been published between 2008 and 2011, with particular reference to New Zealand.
In particular, they looked at:
- The size of the problem of neural tube defects.
- The impact of folic acid fortification on the prevalence of neural tube defects.
- Any additional possible benefits of fortification.
- Possible harmful effects of fortification.
- The relationship between folate and cancer.
- The likely overall balance in public health benefit or harm if fortification were to be introduced.