Can you contribute to the DEFRA consultation – the last step in this important change to flour fortification legislation?
As a UK consumer, you are probably aware of the long-running discussions around the fortification of flour with folic acid. You may have already contributed to the campaigns traditional millers have been engaged in raising awareness of the issues that potentially arise for us millers should the final legislation require us to add folate (folic acid) to flour.
Whilst not wanting to re-cap the whole issue, a couple of key points:
- Traditional millers accept the medical reasons for fortification
- Our concerns relate to the ability of traditional millers to “dose” flour accurately given the traditional machinery we use in the flour production process and the ability of millers to adapt their processes given the historic buildings we work in
- Folic acid will be added to a cocktail of additives which millers are required to add to certain types of flour to enable them to meet the minimum nutritional standards defined in the Bread & Flour Regulations 1998.
Progress as a result of our Campaign – with your help!
As a result of the campaigns and awareness raising millers undertook with your help and in my capacity as Chairman of the Traditional Cornmillers Guild, I was asked to represent traditional millers on a forum convened by DEFRA to discuss changes to the Bread & Flour Regulations, the legislation which determines what is added to flour. I am pleased to say that the Forum took our concerns seriously and after a visit to see traditional mills by a team from DEFRA and the DHSC (Department for Health & Social Care), discussion and economic modelling, an exemption for small mills producing less than 500 tonnes of non-wholemeal wheat flour per annum is being considered.
Your help is needed again!
Before DEFRA’s recommendations are considered by Ministers and a final decision made on the implementation of the legislation to fortify flour with flour acid, a final consultation is being conducted to gather views on the options to change / update the Bread & Flour Regulations. One of the options is the small mills exemption mentioned above. If this exemption is enacted, it will actually mean that all fortification of flour will be exempted for small mills (producing less than 500 tonnes of non-wholemeal wheat flour). You may be aware, that all millers are currently required to ensure our flours reach the ‘minimal nutritional compositional standards’ as defined in the legislation (hence why we are required to add fortificants to our white flour). This is because (as noted above) the vehicle by which folic acid will be added is the same cocktail of vitamins, nutrients etc that enable flour to meet the minimal nutritional compositional standards.
I am aware that many of our customers would prefer that their flour did not contain additives..!
Contribution to the Consultation
The consultation is open to anyone and can be found here.
I appreciate there are rather a lot of sections to the online consultation, but would urge you to register your views. This is a deal-breaking issue for traditional mills and could force many mills to cease flour production should they be required to fortify flour as they would not be able to meet the precise “dosing” requirements (see above).
Thank you in advance for your attention and help. Jon Cook