The industry is ­divided over whether ­mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid will hit international trade.

The Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery Association (BCCCA) said it feared that mandatory forti­fication of flour with folic acid would have a negative impact. The BCCCA said it was concerned that consumers may choose not to buy fortified products in other countries, even though the Food Standards Agency said fortification should not constitute a trade barrier from a legal viewpoint.

On the other hand, Food From Britain’s marketing and international management director ­Simon Waring said a number of key markets for UK food and drink ­exports were already fortifying their flour with folic acid, for example the US, Canada and several UAE countries, while many European countries were debating the measure.

Last Friday, Food Standards Australia New Zealand ­announced its decision that all bread be fortified with folic acid, excluding organic and non-yeast leavened bread.