Traditional flour milling is under threat from a proposal going before Parliament that would require the addition of Folic Acid to all types of flour. Public consultation on the proposal began in June and ends on the 9th September 2019. If the proposals are adopted, this could prohibit any unfortified flour being sold for human consumption.
While we support the aims behind the proposal, in practice the ability to include a tiny amount of folic acid powder evenly by hand through every bag of traditionally milled flour is not possible. Major investment in expensive new equipment would not be feasible for most working windmills and watermills – not least because these small-scale flour producers are constrained by listed building status and limitations of space.
The SPAB Mills Section and the Traditional Cornmillers Guild (TCMG) are therefore asking for traditional mills to be exempted from the proposed regulation. We believe that an exemption for small-scale producers could be included in any change to the regulations without substantially affecting the proposals, and ask for your support in this.
The TCMG has produced a paper setting out the background to the proposals and some of the issues affecting those milling in traditional windmills and watermills; the document can be downloaded by clicking here. It also provides guidance on how to respond to the public consultation should you wish to do so.
The outcome from the public Consultation Document and questionnaire from 2019 can be found at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/adding-folic-acid-to-flour.
There is also a petition asking for the exemption - you can sign it at 38degrees.org.uk/petitions/exempt-traditional-mills-from-mandatory-fortification-of-flour-with-folic-acid
If traditional mills are not exempted, it would no longer be possible for them to legally sell flour and their businesses would be forced to stop. As a result, consumers’ option to buy a completely natural product with no additives would be taken away, leaving only mass-produced supermarket flours for sale.