The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is preparing for a 12-week consultation on fortification of bread with folic acid.

A briefing paper for an FSA Board meeting on April 6, issued as British Baker went to press, indicated a preferred option is to make it mandatory to add folic acid to all flour, except wholemeal, at the milling stage. Early estimates indicate the cost will be around £700,000 a year. It has not been decided who will pay.

Other options suggested are fortification of all flour, all bread-making flour and all bread products, and voluntary schemes.

A consultation is likely to start in May, and the FSA Board will meet again to consider its results in September. Final recommendations will then be made to government.

Flour Advisory Bureau director Alex Waugh said government must foot the bill for fortification.