Food Supplements Europe has hailed EFSA’s favourable opinion on folate food supplements for reducing risks of foetal neural tube defects as recognition of the supplement’s relevance for public health.

The trade association commented following the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) publication of its recent opinion, endorsing the role of 400mcg supplementary folic acid in reducing the risk of spina bifida and hydrocephalus.

The application for the health claim was jointly compiled by charity SHINE, the UK Department of Health and the industry associations Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), Health Food Manufacturers’ Association (HFMA) and the Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB).

Ingrid Atteryd, chair of Food Supplements Europe, said: "We welcome this positive opinion from EFSA. CRN is a member of Food Supplements Europe, and we congratulate all involved in this great achievement for the food supplement sector. EFSA’s endorsement of folic acid supplements as contributing to reducing the risks of neural tube defects is recognition of the importance of this supplement for public health."

The favourable EFSA opinion must now be agreed by the European Commission before it is fully permitted for use in the EU.