According to today’s Sunday Independent (May 27, 2007), Ireland will become the first country in Europe to implement mandatory folic acid food fortification next year.
“The move will result in a 24 per cent drop in the number of babies born with neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly, doctors say. Ireland has one of the highest rates of neural tube defects in Europe with between 49 and 93 affected babies born here every year. Folic acid is a vitamin that, when taken prior to a woman becoming pregnant, can help prevent neural tube defects in babies.” (Quote)
A recently (May 2007) published ((SEE Norwegian study on folic acid supplements and risk of facial clefts)) Norwegian study on folic acid supplements and risk of facial clefts concluded that folic acid supplements during early pregnancy seem to reduce the risk of isolated cleft lip (with or without cleft palate) by about a third.