Fortification of bakery and other foods with Folic Acid in Ireland will not get under way until at least March or April, writes Anne Marie Foley.

Following public consultation, the National Committee on Folic Acid Food Fortification is expected to complete its report in February. The Minister for Health, Mary Harney, will then decide if or how to introduce and implement voluntary or mandatory fortification.

Sources suggest there will be some form of fortification of bread but, as British Baker went to press, the committee was discussing issues such as dosage and who will bear the cost, which is estimated to run into hundreds of thousands of Euros per year.

The Irish Bread Bakers Association welcomes fortification but is concerned about who will bear the cost. It cannot be passed on to the consumer and margins are already very tight on bread, it says. However, if fortification is introduced under regulation the Irish Government is limited in what it can contribute.

Ireland is among the first nations in the EU, including the UK, to consider fortification of foods with folic acid.