Scientists urge United Kingdom to fortify flour with folic acid to prevent birth defects

Dozens of countries add folic acid to flour to ensure that women receive the vitamin, which reduces the risk of babies being born with spina bifida. However, the United Kingdom has resisted calls to follow suit—and may have done so on the basis of flawed research, The Telegraph reports. Researchers examined a 1998 report that set a safe daily upper limit for folic acid consumption, and noticed that a statistical error had been made. When they reanalyzed the data correctly, the scientists found that there were no differences between people who exceeded the limit or remained within it. Writing today in Public Health Reviews, the researchers say that there is now no scientific reason for an upper limit and call on the United Kingdom and other countries to fortify flour with folic acid to reduce the incidence of spina bifida and related disorders.

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