Redbourn Mill faces £35K bill to comply with Government guidelines

PUBLISHED: 12:06 19 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:47 06 May 2010

A MILL and bakery in Redbourn could be forced to shell out £35,000 for new machinery to comply with proposed government regulations Redbournbury Mill may have to purchase the new equipment to fortify the flour they produce with higher levels of folic acid

A MILL and bakery in Redbourn could be forced to shell out £35,000 for new machinery to comply with proposed government regulations

Redbournbury Mill may have to purchase the new equipment to fortify the flour they produce with higher levels of folic acid.

According to the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, the addition of folic acid to flour in the UK will help reduce levels of neural tube defects, such as Spina Bifida, occurring in pregnancies.

If the proposal became law, Redbournbury Mill would be forced to install blending machinery and pneumatic conveyer systems to bring it in line.

Said Mandy James, owner of Redbournbury Mill, "Our position is that we're very, very against it. People who buy from an organic mill like ours want just that; organic flour with nothing added to it.

"There's just no way we can afford to do it and I'm sure our customers understand that. If the big mills want to do it then that's fine, but for a small mill like us it's simply too expensive."

The proposal has drawn criticism from lobbyists. The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) and The Traditional Cornmillers Guild (TCMG), which includes Redbournbury Mill, all argue that smaller mills and businesses cannot afford the massive costs of an upgrade.

Jonathan Cook, secretary of TCMG, said: "This is a question of basic economics. To add small quantities of folic acid to our flour consistently and correctly will actually cost each mill more than £35,000 and that's a price we simply cannot afford to pay,"

Both SPAB and TCMG argue that smaller producers should be given the opportunity to opt out of the proposal.

Jonathan added: "We firmly believe that an opt-out would not diminish the objectives of the proposed legislation in any way. Wind and water mills account for less than 0.0018% of the total flour milled in the UK.".

A petition is available online to stop the proposal becoming legislation at: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/folic-acid-mills/


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