New Zealand to review folic acid fortification

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Related tags: Folic acid

The New Zealand government has announced it will review its mandatory folic acid bread fortification policy before it has even begun.

New Zealand bread makers, along with their counterparts in Australia, are required to fortify bread products with folic acid from September, after a joint decision by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ).

But NZ Food Safety Minister, Kate Wilkinson, stated this month that the policy in New Zealand would come under scrutiny just one month after its implementation.

Folic acid is linked to preventing neural tube defects among foetuses and newborns and is mandatory in some baked products in countries such as the US, Canada and Chile, but it has also been linked with the onset of some cancers, particularly among the elderly.

Bakers have protested the decision, saying it adds unnecessary costs to production and will not reduce neural tube defects as pregnant women will have to consume 11 slices of bread per day to gain an efficacious dose.

Related topics: Policy, Oceania, Fortification, Bakery

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