In many countries foods are fortified with folic acid to prevent neural-tube defects. Beneficial effects on cancer, cardiovascular diseases and dementia are also assumed. Fortification with folic acid is not allowed in The Netherlands, although exemption can be granted. As well as beneficial effects, harmful effects may also occur. In addition to masking vitamin-B12 deficiency, there is some evidence that folic acid may promote progression of established tumours in laboratory animals and humans. In addition, it has been hypothesized that fortification with folic acid may have further negative effects on cancer through genetic selection. Given the high prevalence of cancer, these potentially harmful effects should also be taken into account in the Dutch debate on the advantages and disadvantages of folic acid fortification.