At Prime Minister’s Questions today Stewart Jackson, Member of Parliament for Peterborough, questioned David Cameron over basic food stuff fortification with folic acid.

Mr Jackson first raised the issue with Ministers in September 2005 and then led a Westminster Hall Debate on the issue in October 2005.

Mr Jackson’s question is below.

Stewart Jackson MP said

 ‘This has been a long standing campaign of mine and I am looking forward to receiving an update from the Department of Health and working with my local charity SHINE based at Park Road in Peterborough.’


Mr Stewart Jackson (Peterborough) (Con):

It is 22 years since the landmark Medical Research Council report made a direct link between folic acid use by childbearing women and the prevention of neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Scores of countries have fortified their basic food stuffs, but the policy in this country is mired in bureaucracy between the Food Standards Agency, the Department of Health and others. Will the Prime Minister reassure the House that he will do everything he can to unblock the logjam to prevent the entirely preventable conditions of hydrocephalus and spina bifida?

The Prime Minister:

I will look very carefully at what my hon. Friend has said. It is certainly true that the levels of conditions such as spina bifida have come down and that folic acid has an important role to play. I shall look at the specific points he makes and the bureaucratic problem he identifies and perhaps get the Department of Health to write to him about it.


For more information about SHINE visit

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