Rare Disorders NZ supports the Ministry for Primary Industries proposal to add folic acid to flour to reduce the number of babies born with spina bifida and other neural tube defects.

“The incidence of neural tube defects in live births which could be prevented by consuming folic acid is estimated to be about 24 cases per year, half of which are associated with a diagnosis of spina bifida, and half with anencephaly (which becomes fatal soon after birth),” said New Zealanders for Health Research (NZHR) Chief Executive Chris Higgins.

“This means that there are about twelve New Zealanders per year who are unnecessarily destined for a lifetime of disability (with annual childhood rehabilitation costs of about $400,000 per year, and a significant burden of care which is borne by their families), and a further 12 who are denied the right to life altogether.”

Read NZHR's media release

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