The Welsh and Scottish well being ministers need Well being Secretary Jeremy Hunt to make it obligatory for UK suppliers of flour to fortify it with folic acid.
In a joint letter, they argue it will assist scale back neural tube defects, comparable to spina bifida, in unborn infants.
Figures from Meals Requirements Scotland present roughly 4 out of 5 ladies of childbearing age within the two nations are poor in the important thing nutrient.
The US and eighty five different nations have already got a coverage in place.
Scotland’s Health Minister, Aileen Campbell, and her Welsh counterpart, Vaughan Gething, wrote: “Each our governments have lengthy referred to as for additional motion on this space at a UK degree.
“There stays a compelling case for motion throughout the UK to scale back neural tube defects incidence, notably in probably the most socio-economically disadvantaged areas.”
Supply: British Dietetic Association
It got here after an unbiased Scottish evaluation discovered it would not be cost-effective or practical to implement that change in Scotland alone.
The Scottish government had considered making the change last year.
Folic acid happens naturally in darkish inexperienced leafy greens however the findings discovered three-quarters of girls throughout the UK do not get sufficient.
The ministers stated their place is supported by the Division of Well being in Northern Eire, the place eighty three% of girls of childbearing age have folate deficiency.
Authorities advisers have advisable including folic acid to flour for 18 years.
Within the meantime, some meals producers have decreased the quantity of folic acid they add to different meals, comparable to cereals, in anticipation of the fortification of flour.
A Division of Well being spokesperson stated they may rigorously think about the suggestions and “reply sooner or later.”
In Scotland, 158 infants have been born between 2007 and 2011 who have been affected by neural tube defects whereas 131 pregnancies have been terminated after these have been detected over the identical interval.
A spokeswoman from the British Being pregnant Advisory Service (BPAS) additionally backed the decision, saying: “We strongly help the obligatory fortification of flour with folic acid to scale back the incidence of neural tube defects within the UK, which frequently outcome within the termination of a a lot-needed being pregnant.
“There are only a few public well being interventions which have such a robust proof base as this one.”
Andy Wynd from the charity Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland stated: “The difficulty of flour fortification is especially related in Scotland as extra youngsters are born with spina bifida in Scotland than anyplace else within the UK.”
Citing analysis from different nations, Mr Wynd stated that including folic acid might scale back neural tube defects in Scotland by some 70%.
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