There will be no additional benefits in mandatory folic acid fortification of bread in Ireland, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) said today. At a conference on Homocysteine at Trinity College Dublin, it said that the Irish population’s folic acid intake from fortified foods and supplements remains high.
Blood samples collected from 2005-2007 and 2010-2012 were used in the study which showed evidence of high intakes of folic acid in Ireland mainly due to voluntary food fortification by industry.
The study particularly focused on women of childbearing age who have a special requirement for folic acid to protect against birth defects.
Professor Mary Flynn, Chief Specialist in Public Health Nutrition, FSAI chaired the session. She said “There is a need for more EU wide regulation of this area. Now that EU food legislation allows food businesses to voluntarily fortify their food products there is a real need to set maximum limits for the addition of vitamins, such as folic acid to food. We anticipate that folic acid food fortification will continue to increase due to health claims being recently authorised for food. These are likely to prompt more food businesses to fortify their products so they can make a claim. This makes the on-going work at EU level to set maximum limits vitally important.”
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