Health remained at the top of the agenda in 2007 and folic fortification was at the forefront of last year’s health debate.

It looks like it will now be in 2008 when these plans will move forwards. The Federation of Bakers (FoB) recognises that if fortification of bread with folic acid offers significant health benefits, based on sound medical evidence, then it should be implemented.

In May, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) board agreed unanimously to mandatory fortification of bread with folic acid to reduce the number of babies born with neural tube defects, and the FoB has liaised closely with the FSA to advise on a practical answer to the logistics of this decision. We believe strongly that fortification of flour at the milling stage would be the most viable solution.

Salt reduction continues to be of key importance. The FoB agreed an acceptable target for salt reduction by 2010 with the FSA in 2005. We are working hard to reach a target of 0.43g sodium (a sales-weighted average) per 100g by the deadline, and have made great inroads.

Despite the FoB’s efforts to the contrary, the retention of nominal quantities for bread was rejected by the European Parliament. This year, it will be interesting to see the impact of this decision.