Benefits and Risks of Fortifying Flour with Folic Acid to Reduce the Risk of Neural Tube Defects

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SBU’s Conclusions

The primary objective of the project was to systematically examine the scientific evidence for the benefits and risks of fortifying flour with folic acid. Benefits refer to the possibility that the incidence of neural tube defects (NTDs) is lower with fortification than without fortification. Risks refer to the possibility that a higher intake of folic acid increases the likelihood of twin pregnancy.

Other possible effects of fortification were not included in the examination.The main conclusion of the Swedish Council on Technology Assessment in Health Care is that mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid cannot be unequivocally recommended based on the scientific evidence in this report.

How to cite this report: SBU. Benefits and risks of fortifying flour with folic acid to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. Stockholm: Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment in Health Care (SBU); 2007. SBU report no 183 (in Swedish).

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SBU Assessment presents a comprehensive, systematic assessment of available scientific evidence. The certainty of the evidence for each finding is systematically reviewed and graded. Full assessments include economic, social, and ethical impact analyses.

SBU assessments are performed by a team of leading professional practitioners and academics, patient/user representatives and SBU staff. Prior to approval and publication, assessments are reviewed by independent experts, SBU’s Scientific Advisory Committees and Board of Directors.

Published: 3/6/2007
Report no: 183