For more on today's story, see the BBC News website:

For the draft consultation document from the UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (Department of Health), click here.

For the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) website, click here.

Further background can be found via the SACN press release, 23 November 2005.

ANH comment

Folic acid fortification of white bread will encourage people into thinking white bread is a healthy food when it is one of the least healthy foods around. Obesity affects 22% of the adult population and high GI white bread should be restricted in diets, not encouraged. White bread is a bad delivery system for nutrients as it doesn't allow accurate control of dosage because people eat such varying amounts.

What do you do if you are already taking a multivitamin containing 400 mcg of folic acid? Do you stop taking it and then risk not getting enough vitamin A, C, D or E, or zinc, selenium or iron?

Also the form used for fortification with folic acid will be the pharmaceutical (synthetic) monoglutamate form, not the 5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate form that exists in green vegetables like spinach. We should be encouraging healthy eating of whole foods (eg whole grain breads, green vegetables) that are rich in B vitamins including folates and vitamin B12, together with providing information about optional supplementation.

Mass medication of highly processed foods is not compatible with healthy living.