SBHI response to Safefood Folic Acid Survey - May 2016

The following post is a response from Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland (SBHI) regarding a Facebook survey about Folic Acid which was posted by Safefood on Monday 30th May 2016.

The survey, which is a ‘baseline survey’ to establish perceptions about Folic Acid ahead of a more significant campaign, included a sentence which was insensitively written and offensive in nature. This sentence was presented as a ‘true or false’ question and has since been removed.

Safefood became aware of this mistake on Monday evening and at 10pm the survey was amended. An apology was made in the comments section, and a further statement of apology was added to the Safefood Facebook page the following morning (Tuesday 31st May).

SBHI were made aware of the survey and the offensive sentence on Tuesday morning and Tom Scott, CEO, contacted Safefood immediately to find out how such an error could have been made.

Safefood acknowledge without reservation that this was an oversight, Safefood staff should have spotted it and removed it before it was published.

Though SBHI does work with Safefood in order to coordinate effective campaigning tools, SBHI did not see this survey before it was published and this process will be reviewed in future meetings between the two parties to ensure that the content is relevant, sensitively written, and appropriate to the intended audience.

SBHI does advocate that when taken in the correct dosage and at the right time, Folic Acid can help to prevent Spina Bifida in up to 70% of cases. The organisation is very aware of the sensitive nature of this topic and the need for the message to be clear, especially regarding pregnancies where the correct dosage was taken at the right time and Spina Bifida still developed in the growing baby.

The organisation works on a much wider level to support the thousands of people living with Spina Bifida (and/or Hydrocephalus) throughout their lives, and the lives of the families, carers, friends, and professionals who form the SBH community in Ireland. To this end SBHI believes in a society which promotes equality and as such will address any instances where inappropriate language is used in reference to Spina Bifida and/or Hydrocephalus.

Moving forward, and arising from previous planning meetings between SBHI and Safefood, there is recognition that future campaigns need to be shaped with far more input from people who know Spina Bifida to be a reality in their lives.

If you would like to be a part of this process and help shape the future of Folic Acid campaigns in Ireland, please contact:

Aileen McGloin - Comms Manager, Digital & Health, Marketing & Comms


To offer further feedback to SBHI on this or any other related issues, please contact Tom Scott, CEO: 

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