Please sign folic acid petition

Brixton Windmill flour bags

The government is currently consulting on a proposal to add folic acid to flour to help reduce neural tube defects in foetuses by raising the folate levels of women who could become pregnant. Folate cannot be made or stored by the body and must therefore be provided daily from the diet.

The Traditional Cornmillers Guild (TCM) and Society for the Protection of Buildings (SPAB) Mills Section are jointly mounting a campaign to raise awareness of the issues that these proposals create for traditional mills.

To be able to add accurate doses of folic acid to all flours they produce, traditional mills would need to create a whole new production process. These mills, including Brixton Windmill, have no suitable equipment to accurately mix folic acid into flour, and the space available and the listed status of many of the buildings would prevent the installation of the required machinery.

Even if there was space, the cost of buying and installing the machinery and the consequent training and staffing of the additional processes required would seriously threaten the financial viability of these traditional mills. This could easily lead to their closure and deny the public access to an important part of this country’s industrial heritage.

This small industry has enjoyed a significant renaissance over the last 5 years with the renewed interest in environmentally sustainable local food and real bread. The proposed requirements, if implemented, would form another major barrier to returning traditional mills to working order and thus saving important listed buildings.

The TCM and SPAB are urging the government to consider an exemption for traditional mills producing less than 1,000 tonnes of flour a year. The combined production of traditional mills represents a minute fraction of the nation’s flour consumption – less than 0.013% of the total white flour production (for which data is available).

Please sign the petition calling on the government to grant this exemption.

The consultation closes on 9 September 2019.

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