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Flour: Folic Acid

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 19th March 2020.

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Photo of Dr Caroline Johnson Dr Caroline Johnson Conservative, Sleaford and North Hykeham

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on listed traditional heritage windmills of proposals for the mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid.

Photo of Dr Caroline Johnson Dr Caroline Johnson Conservative, Sleaford and North Hykeham

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the consultation on mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid which closed in September 2019, what estimate his Department has made of the number windmills using traditional milling processes which prevent accurate dosing of flour with additives.

Photo of Dr Caroline Johnson Dr Caroline Johnson Conservative, Sleaford and North Hykeham

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will consider the potential merits of exempting traditional heritage windmills from proposed mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The recent consultation on the proposed mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid to help reduce neural tube defects in foetuses did specifically ask people to highlight any potential impact of this policy on small and medium businesses. People who responded to the consultation did not have to identify themselves or any sector they may be representing. However, of those who did, 50 identified themselves as working in the heritage/artisan milling sector. Officials from the Department have met with representatives from the The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) Mills Section and the Traditional Cornmillers Guild and visited wind and watermills to understand at first hand the practicalities around fortification in those premises. We have only the publicly available data on the number of traditional mills; noting that not all buildings manufacture flour as some are museums. Ministers are currently considering the consultation response analysis and further information will be provided in due course.

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