Media Release: Scottish Bakers – an industry position on folic acid


IN an announcement by the Scottish Government on Sunday 6th March, Public Health Minister, Maureen Watt, is quoted, here, as saying: “Our consistent position is that UK-wide mandatory fortification of flour is the best way to reduce neural tube defects. However, despite repeated requests it’s clear that the UK Government has no intention of doing so at this time.

“I have therefore asked Food Standards Scotland to provide some detailed advice on how we could do this on a Scotland-only basis. This advice will then be used to allow us to make a decision on what our next steps should be.

“There are far too many babies being born with Spina Bifida in Scotland – particularly in our more deprived communities. Folic acid is tasteless, entirely safe within recommended intake levels and is already included in many foods like breakfast cereals.”

Scottish Bakers, which represents the interests of professional bakers throughout the country, has made the following statement:

“The bakery industry is clear that this is a medical issue, not a bakery one.

“In saying that, a Scotland-only decision could have major implications on the food and bakery sector. If Scotland goes down this route, it could make life difficult for the bakery sector as a whole across the UK and globally with food products one of Scotland major exports.

“This Scotland-only change was first raised in January and we are still reviewing the full implications but, as a trade association, we would welcome the opportunity to not only work with Food Standards Scotland but also to engage with the Health Minister and shape how it would work in practice if the decision was made.”

Possible implications include:

  • Consideration over whether this change is made at the raw ingredient (flour) stage at the mill or added to bakery products themselves during production at a craft bakery
  • Would it apply to products made in Scotland or products sold in Scotland or both?
  • There are possible implications also for bakery exports of course, shortbread for example is a major Scottish export

Editors notes:

Scottish Bakers was established in 1891 and since then we have represented and promoted the interests of the bakery trade in Scotland.

We aim to be an integral part of each member’s business by providing support for bakers of all sizes.

We provide a valuable source of help, advice, information, assistance and skills development for bakers throughout Scotland.

But most importantly, Scottish Bakers belongs to its members, we are all there for their benefit and are proud of our motto, ‘for the good of all’.

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