Millers have asked the government to foot the bill for the mandatory addition of folate to flour.

As The Grocer went to press, the Food Standards Agency announced that it would advise the government to adopt mandatory fortification of flour as part of moves to cut rates of spina bifida in unborn babies.

However, it is not clear how much such a move will cost - and millers are calling on the government to fund the additional costs.

"We have enquired whether the government will cover this as it is a public health measure," said Alex Waugh, director of the National Association of British and Irish Millers.

If the government refused to subsidise the fortification measure, then millers would be forced to pass the extra cost on to customers, and ultimately consumers, he warned.