The Folic Acid controversy

July 13th, 2009 at 9:29 am by David Farrar

got a pretty tough grilling on yesterday as she was in the unenvious position of saying she thinks the compulsory medicating of bread with was wrong, yet she would not or could not stop it occurring due to our treaty with Australia – the best being offered is a review in October.

It is true that it is much easier to decide not to do something, than it is to pull out of a decision after it had been made by a previous Government – especially when it deos involve a treaty with a friendly Government. But the transcript shows the difficulty of trying to say we think this is a bad decision, but can’t stop it:

KATE The science is actually light on it.  I agree with what the Irish are doing, I’d have to say I agree with what they’re doing.

PAUL Well then do it.

KATE That’s why I’m doing it – the first opportunity I’m taking it and asking for a review.

PAUL I’m sorry you’re gonna put folic acid which may give me prostate cancer again, into my staple food, the bread, and then you’re gonna&

SUE And then review it.

PAUL And then review it, so you could be threatening the health of this nation.

Ouch.

KATE If you drill down into those studies though you’ll find that they’re not that qualitative or quantitative and it is a bit light.  Now if we can get a review through the Ministerial Council it’ll be done in three months.

PAUL Oh so we have three months of possible poisoning.

Holmes was very worked up on this issue.

PAUL Forgive me Minister, I read yesterday in researching this that is some link between excessive folic acid and prostate cancer.

SUE That is right.

PAUL And you are gonna put that in my bread?

SUE But Paul it’s the stupidity of this, that the Minister accepts there are these health risks.

KATE Yes she does.

SUE But she’s saying we have to do it so we’re eating up for Australia, we’re going to be forced because of some trade relationship with Australia, surely we should put – public health issues should be paramount, not some diplomatic relationship.

Never good when you let Sue Kedgley answer on your behalf

Worth remembering this, from NZPA:

Former Food Safety Minister said when the decision was made that it was “a triumph for humanity and common sense”.

I think this may become a bigger and bigger issue as September gets closer. If I was in Government I would be looking very hard at how to get a decision on this before the scheduled meeting in Australia. Surely one can get the agreement of the Australian Ministers by e-mail or something to allow New Zealand to suspend implementing the folic bread addition due to health concerns.

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105 Responses to “The Folic Acid controversy”

  1. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Holmes was very worked up on this issue.

    His own experiences with prostate cancer probably added a bit of oomph to his questioning.

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  2. virtualmark (1,523 comments) says:

    Apologies, I’ve obviously missed a few developments here. Can anyone please outline:

    1. What are the Irish doing exactly? and
    2. What’s the decision point with the Aussies? I know that we share food standards with them, but are the Aussies wanting to press on with folic acid dosing in bread too? Or are they against it?

    Ta.

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  3. Neil (586 comments) says:

    I saw the interview yesterday and Kate looked very uncomfortable.
    What amazes me that there was no debate in parliament on this matter. It has two sides to it and both are somewhat persuasive.Surely that is what parliament is about.
    Wilkison was never going to come out looking good – when you oppose legislation personally your heart is not in it.
    However I thought Holmes was like a rabid dog, on to his bad habit of not letting people finish answers. Kedgely was ok, but you know full well she was playing politics.
    Surely we can ring up and tell the arrogant Aussies that we intend delaying things because of alleged phytosanitary reasons, just like the import of NZ apples into Australia.
    The thing that annoys me the most, that we are arguing over matters than 90% of the population have no idea what they are talking about. Like me !!!

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  4. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    My sometime insomniac mother reports that NewstalkZB’s midnight-to-6am talk-back was on nothing but this issue. Now sure, that’s a particular cross-section of the community whose attitudes can be discounted to a degree, depending on the issue (sorry Mum), but it makes it something National needs to address, for two reasons. One, the overwhelming sense was that despite giving the Aussies a brief bloody nose this could be ended with the simple stroke of a pen (something Kate Wilkinson’s old colleague Katherine Rich has been helpfully pointing out). And two, Kate Wilkinson looks weak. That was the opinion of a majority of callers.

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  5. Cerium (23,559 comments) says:

    “arguing over matters than 90% of the population have no idea what they are talking about. ”

    As is common – that’s why we hope that parliament will do the groundwork and make good decisions for us.
    Have things changed since the original decision was made?
    Or was that a bad decision?
    Whether it was a bad decision or consequent information means it is now known to be risky, health must override any other consideration. Or, if we get toxic toys imported from a country do we just let that ride too because we have a trade agreement with the country.

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  6. Neil (586 comments) says:

    A quick comment. I am currently reading an excellent book “The End of Food” by Paul Roberts which makes you think about the food we are eating and how globalisation impacts on what we eat.Farming has a future but increasingly the corporate type.
    To read that chickens are fattened with hormones and food in 40 days while naturally grown chickens mature in 70 days.
    There is another in the series by the same author “The End of Oil”. Good to challenge your thinking.
    Available on order in NZ or available on Amazon.

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  7. Pat (76 comments) says:

    Key needs to take charge of this and pull the pin as soon as possible, because the pissed-off bakers are going to get very noisy as September draws near.

    Besides, the science on this is not universally accepted, and it is a real Nanny-state issue for the public – the sort of thing we dumped Labour for.

    Look out for the silence from Labour on this. This was Annette King’s baby so they are stuck in the mud on this – they don’t want to go against public opinion but they also don’t want to turn against Annette.

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  8. Sam (501 comments) says:

    That woman’s (King’s) common-sense has a bloody lot to answer for, if you ask me, which nobody did of course…

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  9. dimmocrazy (286 comments) says:

    Another fine example of the hypocrisy of politicians generally, and of those with a green hue specifically.

    Can we please have the state out of our food, wallet, family and fun??

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  10. AM (8 comments) says:

    Packaging changes take some time, roughly 6 – 8 weeks.. If there is no change in the next day or two, it will be too late, the bags will be on the press. Them we will be feed folate no matter what, as who will throw away all those new bags?

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  11. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    I don’t understand… I agree with common Australia New Zealand standards for food (and other products) that will be sold in both countries. But surely bread is a low value bulky item that doesn’t have a long shelf life and wouldn’t possibly be sent across the Tasman?

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  12. Pat (76 comments) says:

    AM – Just use the same bags with a “No Folic Acid added” sticker.

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  13. Mike S (229 comments) says:

    “unenvious” is not English – I suspect you meant uneviable

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  14. Buggerlugs (1,592 comments) says:

    I reckon we should be putting oral contraceptives in McDonalds or Burger King bought after 11pm at night or before 11aqm in the morning. That might do more good than folic acid!

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  15. andrei (2,640 comments) says:

    Does anybody actually want the bread foliated apart from Annette King and a few bossy britches female bureaucrats?

    It is simple really – an opportunity for National to show it hasn’t been totally emasculated or to reveal its impotence.

    Let’s see what they are made of.

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  16. Ryan Sproull (7,115 comments) says:

    How much folate is being put into the average loaf of bread?

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  17. adamsmith1922 (890 comments) says:

    I am sure I heard Kedgley say it was a stupid treaty so we should ignore it. Are not the Greens the party that want us to slavishly follow treaties of which they approve.

    So a treaty is OK when the Greens approve and must be followed absolutely , but can be ignored and broken when they do not approve.

    Funny that!

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  18. backster (2,171 comments) says:

    BUGGERLUGS………You are onto it.

    The loud mouth blowhard Annette KING is keeping her lips sealed on this. It leads to me to believe that signing up to this was a deliberate sabotage act to embarrass the National Government when they took office, just as CLARK went about signing up Unionists and extending the contracts of other no-hopers, when she realized she was for the axe and as CULLEN wasted a billion or so on the Railways.
    It was sad to hear the Minister say that she had to follow the law even though she didn’t agree with it…I don’t agree the Government’s duty is to follow the will of the people, and alter the law to suit. In any case it seems she can delay the law as the Irish are doing until the science is settled, or she can refuse to implement the standard as ‘harmful to health “as provided for in the act.

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  19. Cerium (23,559 comments) says:

    “How much folate is being put into the average loaf of bread?”

    Not enough even for those who “need” it so they still should take supplements.

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  20. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    A contradiction..
    Folic acid is sold in just about every Health food/organic store in tablet form and you can buy it and shovel it into your porridge or whatever. I have not heard Sue Kedgley and her safe food campaigners raise any doubt about these Healtheries Pills.
    But now that it is proposed to add folic acid to bread she is suddenly telling us all that it causes prostate cancer and all manner of nasties.

    Is folic acid OK if its sold by organic stores but not if its sold in bread made by Tip Top.

    I am not supporting the mass medication of bread. Just pointing out a contradiction.
    I would have thought that if Sue Kegley and her Safe Food group were concerned about danger they would be advocating doctor prescriptions only.

    But we all know that all the food in organic health food stores is safe, so the Healtheries pills must be safe too. So Folic Acid must be safe. This is the great “organic” fallacy. Botulism is organic so it must be safe too!

    There is some sleight of hand going on. Someone on TVOne claimed that it would take eleven slices of bread to get the daily recommended dose. This is true and is now accepted as THE TRUTH. However, we get folic acid from many sources so the bread is a supplementary source. I do not believe any pregnant mother would be totally dependent on bread for their daily dose.

    I probably get my daily dose because of my normal diet which includes these sources:

    Leafy vegetables such as spinach,asparagus, turnip greens, lettuces, dried/fresh beans and peas, fortified cereal products, sunflower seeds and certain other fruits and vegetables are rich sources of folate. So is Orange Juice and other citrus fruits. Liver and liver products also contain high amounts of folate, as does baker’s yeast.
    NO ONE needs to eat eleven slices because there are so many alternative source. The bread is a top up!.
    Quick and dirty research indicates that the average person would have to eat two to three slices of bread (or equivalent in hamburger buns etc) to get the recommended daily dose of Vitamin B9.

    Of course some people don’t eat any green vegetables at all but maybe they eat lots of burgers!

    But falsehooks become facts so quickly that it is difficult to have a rational debate.

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  21. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    How much folate is being put into the average loaf of bread?

    Enough that a woman needs to eat 11 slices a day to get the desired effect. If you pointy headed scientist-types want exact quantities you can do a google

    edit: Owen up top is perhaps more helpful

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  22. Ryan Sproull (7,115 comments) says:

    Answering my own question…

    Fortified bread will contain around 135 micrograms of folic acid for every 100 grams of bread, that’s about 2-3 slices.

    So about eight slices of bread will have your internationally recognised recommended daily intake of folic acid.

    The study that suggests a 163% increased risk of prostate cancer is talking about cases of “high doses”, but I can’t find any explanation of what that means.

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  23. Manolo (13,748 comments) says:

    “an opportunity for National to show it hasn’t been totally emasculated or to reveal its impotence. ”

    I’m more than happy to eat my words but be prepared to be disappointed. The Tories have the spine of a jellyfish and would hide behind any bureaucratic excuse, as Mrs. Wilkinson is doing, to delay taking decisive action.

    These lame politicians from either side of the political spectrum are pathetic. Ought to be, they are all cut from the same socialist fabric.

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  24. Ryan Sproull (7,115 comments) says:

    The problem can also be supplementation itself. When we get beneficial folate from things like leafy green vegetables, they come with all the complex relationships to other nutrients in the same food. Isolating the vitamins and dosing people with them is almost always inferior to eating good sources of natural nutrition. High levels of beta-carotene raise lung-cancer risks, for example.

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  25. Cerium (23,559 comments) says:

    Before being critical of King/Labour – was the cancer risk known when the decision was made? Or has it become known since?

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  26. bharmer (687 comments) says:

    “If you drill down into those studies though you’ll find that they’re not that qualitative or quantitative and it is a bit light. ”

    What on earth does that mean? “Not that qualitative or quantitative”? Did she read a journal article once and pick up the jargon without understanding it?

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  27. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    I understand the supplement is to assist in foetal development, so therefore should be targetted to pregnant women. This would make much more sense as being dispensed as a free supplement when pregnancy is first confirmed by the doctor (and probably cheaper than putting it in all breads) so the risk of prostate cancer is avoided (since the at-risk group is men). Annette King clearly made a bad decision on this, the Ozzies seem to have made a bad decision on this. I’m surprised Key and his advisors haven’t spotted that this issue is going to flare up, and he needs to step in and save McNational from getting another big F- on this one.

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  28. Ryan Sproull (7,115 comments) says:

    Folic acid doesn’t just prevent birth defects. It reduces the chances of stroke, colorectal cancer, depression, infertility and impotence. The average New Zealander is not getting enough folic acid, and it affects these – and probably other – things. It’s also probably reflective of poor nutrition overall.

    But that’s the problem. Supplementation is just a band-aid on the problem, not a solution.

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  29. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Kate Wilkinson – one MORE good reason why MMP is BAD for the nation.

    Not good enough to win a seat, not good enough to be in parliament.

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  30. OldNews (38 comments) says:

    I don’t understand the argument that she can’t revoke the standard. According to the Food Act, she has complete authority to do so:
    Food Act 1981
    Part 2A Food standards
    11L Amendment and revocation of food standards
    (1) The Minister may at any time amend or revoke any food standard.

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  31. Buggerlugs (1,592 comments) says:

    Jackoff – Labour has 15 reasons using your fucked up rationale.

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  32. Cerium (23,559 comments) says:

    Giving women a supplement may be too late – once they find out they are pregnant.

    I had a quick sqizz at the wiki on folic acid and there is a ot more to this than a simple decision on birth defects versus cancer risk etc. The dosing of foods (mainly flour) has been happening in a lot of places.

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  33. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    Not good enough to win a seat, not good enough to be in parliament.

    I agree whole heartedly – If we had that rule, we could have avoided Micheal Cullen for the last nine years and all those loopy Greens would be out tending their wacky backy patches!

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  34. Cerium (23,559 comments) says:

    Katherine Rich on http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/newsdetail1.asp?storyID=160072

    “I don’t think in this case, it’s not fair to blame Annette King, because when she made her decision, there was different information. A lot of this latest work has only come out in the last six to eight months and that’s why we think the government needs to have another look at this.”

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  35. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    Ryan Sproull posted at 11.20:”…Folic acid doesn’t just prevent birth defects. It reduces the chances of stroke, colorectal cancer, depression, infertility and impotence.”

    Those interested should look at this link from an American medical (nursing) site for an up to date view on folic acid levels. An internet search for the California study might also give RS more details of added folic acid levels:

    http://news.nurse.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009104200003

    Yes this early science that needs to be replicated and further researched. However, Ireland and Britain have delayed compulsory medication of bread until more research is done.

    There are also reports of higher incidence of certain cancers in countries as varied as Canada and Chile since the addition of folic acid to bread. THis adds to the need for caution and delay.

    The solution offered by NZ bakers is quite sensible. They have offered to bake specialty bread containing added folic acid which those who need it or want it can take.

    I think it’s relevant that about 600 NZ men die a year from prostate cancer, and we have a relatively high incidence of colon cancer. We need to proceed carefully.

    The idea of mass medication of bread is another issue on which opinion needs to be respected.

    In the adding of iodine to table salt, for example, alternatives are available, and I’ve never heard of any questioning of the safety of iodising salt.

    A final point – the feminist angle. If there was an early scientific hint that adding folic acid to bread could raise the incidence of breast cancer, would medication proceed? Yeah right.

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  36. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    Holmes gets “very worked up” on most issues. He is the classic small man.

    Hard to argue with his logic here though…

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  37. Ryan Sproull (7,115 comments) says:

    Jack5,

    Thanks for the link. So the “high doses” was 1mg, which is two and a half times the RDA and the equivalent of 20 slices of fortified bread.

    How many slices of bread does the average Kiwi eat?

    Presumably the argument against opt-in fortified breads is that the target demographics of poor eaters won’t opt in. It’s a very patriarchal position – people don’t know what’s best for them, so the State has to make their choices for them. Practically speaking, opt-out would be more sensible. Have alternatives that aren’t fortified for people concerned about too much folic acid.

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  38. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    Further on this issue, Key and Wilkinson greatly underrate the significance of bread to people.

    Of course for many decades it hasn’t been the staple food that it was early last century, when prices were controlled by the Government, which also ran a bread research institute (that would be handy now). However, it’s still perhaps the biggest non-alcohol item in supermarkets and there is a lingering concern in people about security of bread supply. This is a hugely important food, especially to families of ordinary people. It may be a mere trifle in Bellamy’s, but bread is big in the households of most New Zealanders.

    The last time I’m aware fears about bread occurred was as in the 1970s in Christchurch when a strike threatened supply and a riot almost broke out at a local supermarket, to the stage of glass being broken, and police being called to control shoppers.

    Key and Wilkinson are out of touch on this issue. It is going to more than bite National in the bum. It’s going to tear out a cheek from the party’s blue arse.

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  39. BDB (2 comments) says:

    There is no substantive evidence supporting the folate issue’s medical claims.
    @ Pundit ‘s they failed to understand ( called me a fool, then censored my reasonable comments regarding this debate- I thought I was back at Labour’s blog ‘The Standard ‘ ).
    Unfounded medical claims are what this policy is based on.
    AustraliaNZ regulation ‘ mass medicalization’ policy serves to ‘drop the border’ quicker than ‘someone’s restructuring for a cheap sale in the privatization scheme’.
    Anyway I hope my point gets through here- there is no empirical evidence for the claims.

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  40. freethinker (691 comments) says:

    Jack5 (710) Vote: 3 0 Says:
    July 13th, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Just shows – Tits are more important than Dicks! Edit – proof Cullen – a bull with tits!*

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  41. starboard (2,536 comments) says:

    ..That woman’s (King’s) common-sense has a bloody lot to answer for

    ..dont forget the classic…” the fullmoon’s to blame for the murders “…

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  42. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    But the REAL issue is we are a small country at the bottom of the world and our government does whats its told to by other countries.

    We have jack shit sovereign control.

    It must really piss new pollies off when they get into government and the Sir Humphires tell them

    Oh you cant do that Minister because we have signed Treaty with such and such.

    But Minister. What about the Agreement Oh you dont know about the Agreement. Oh dear Minister.

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  43. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Comments.. from NBR From The Horses Mouth.. The Depth of National Worrying! by Rusty Kane.

    Some breads only is way to go

    The Bread Bakers choice of adding Folic Acid to some breads only is the obvious and sensible way to go about this. It should still placate the idiots in Australia – since when does bread made in NZ get sold in Oz?. Safety of the population majority has to be at the forefront.

    Folic acid

    key needs to move swiftly to stem the damage done by kate wilkinson in her q & a interview!!
    we want a government that is in control to repair the damage done by 9 years of cullen/clark incompentence! not one that is controlled by beauracrats!
    the public service has been stacked with “lefties” and a prime mission of our new govt must be to weed them out !!

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  44. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Two comments on NBR The Horses Mouth… The Depth of National Worrying.. By Rusty Kane..

    Some breads only way to go

    The Bread Bakers choice of adding Folic Acid to some breads only is the obvious and sensible way to go about this. It should still placate the idiots in Australia – since when does bread made in NZ get sold in Oz?. Safety of the population majority has to be at the forefront.

    folic acid

    key needs to move swiftly to stem the damage done by kate wilkinson in her q & a interview!!
    we want a government that is in control to repair the damage done by 9 years of cullen/clark incompentence! not one that is controlled by beauracrats!
    the public service has been stacked with “lefties” and a prime mission of our new govt must be to weed them out !!

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  45. OldNews (38 comments) says:

    gd (2252) Vote: 0 0 Says:

    See s11L of the Food Act. She can, and should, revoke the standard. Now.

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  46. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Two comments on NBR The Horses Mouth… The Depth of National Worrying! by Rusty Kane.

    Some breads only is way to go

    The Bread Bakers choice of adding Folic Acid to some breads only is the obvious and sensible way to go about this. It should still placate the idiots in Australia – since when does bread made in NZ get sold in Oz?. Safety of the population majority has to be at the forefront.

    folic acid

    key needs to move swiftly to stem the damage done by kate wilkinson in her q & a interview!!
    we want a government that is in control to repair the damage done by 9 years of cullen/clark incompentence! not one that is controlled by beauracrats!
    the public service has been stacked with “lefties” and a prime mission of our new govt must be to weed them out !!

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  47. anonymouse (715 comments) says:

    OldNews wrote:

    I don’t understand the argument that she can’t revoke the standard. According to the Food Act, she has complete authority to do so:
    Food Act 1981
    Part 2A Food standards
    11L Amendment and revocation of food standards
    (1) The Minister may at any time amend or revoke any food standard.

    Because there is a second item in 2 (a) 11L you failed to quote

    2) Subject to subsection (3) of this section, the provisions of sections 11E to 11K of this Act shall apply in respect of any amendment or revocation of any food standard.

    1E Preconditions for issuing food standard
    (1) In issuing any food standard, the Minister shall take into account the following:
    o (a) The need to protect public health:
    o (b) The desirability of avoiding unnecessary restrictions on trade:
    o (c) The desirability of maintaining consistency between New Zealand’s food standards and those applying internationally:
    o(d) New Zealand’s obligations under any relevant international treaty, agreement, convention, or protocol, and, in particular, under the Australia-New Zealand Joint Food Standards Agreement:
    o(e) Such other matters as the Minister considers appropriate.

    (2) The Minister shall not issue any food standard unless the Minister is satisfied that appropriate consultation has been carried out with respect to the food standard, including (without limitation)—
    o (a) Adequate and appropriate notice of the intention to issue the food standard; and
    o (b) A reasonable opportunity for interested persons to make submissions; and
    o (c) Adequate and appropriate consideration of any such submissions.

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  48. Cerium (23,559 comments) says:

    “organic and some specialty breads exempt”

    Add the stuff to the air bread loaves. And allow for a lot of specialty breads so there is plenty of easy choice to avoid it.

    Maybe we should thank the Greens (don’t splutter) – they at least helped limit it to bread here, the Aussies are putting it in their flour so it will be much harder to avoid.

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  49. david (2,557 comments) says:

    gd. oldnews, S11L follows.

    11L Amendment and revocation of food standards(1) The Minister may at any time amend or revoke any food standard.

    (2) Subject to subsection (3) of this section, the provisions of sections 11E to 11K of this Act shall apply in respect of any amendment or revocation of any food standard.

    (3) Nothing in section 11E(2) of this Act applies in respect of any amendment to any food standard to correct any obvious mistake (including, without limitation, grammatical and typographical errors or omissions).

    Where Wilkinson gets hung up is sneaky little subsection (2).
    Lets take 11E and have a look.

    11E Preconditions for issuing food standard(1) In issuing any food standard, the Minister shall take into account the following:

    (a) The need to protect public health:

    (b) The desirability of avoiding unnecessary restrictions on trade:

    (c) The desirability of maintaining consistency between New Zealand’s food standards and those applying internationally:

    (d) New Zealand’s obligations under any relevant international treaty, agreement, convention, or protocol, and, in particular, under the Australia-New Zealand Joint Food Standards Agreement:

    (e) Such other matters as the Minister considers appropriate.

    (2) The Minister shall not issue any food standard unless the Minister is satisfied that appropriate consultation has been carried out with respect to the food standard, including (without limitation)—

    (a) Adequate and appropriate notice of the intention to issue the food standard; and

    (b) A reasonable opportunity for interested persons to make submissions; and

    (c) Adequate and appropriate consideration of any such submissions.

    Compare: 1994 No 104 s 39(2)

    Part 2A (comprising sections 11B to 11ZE) was inserted, as from 1 July 1996, by section 9 Food Amendment Act 1996 (1996 No 41).

    Now I can’t actually get too excited about her respect for teh law and am willing to see the thing through with a review. I would get mighty pissed if the FSA erefused to allow a review, but then I suspect that Key et al would seriously consider unilateral action.

    Until then, I recommend that people breath through their noses and blame Annette King for the whole clusterfuck.!

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  50. david (2,557 comments) says:

    Snap … anonymouse

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  51. CraigM (694 comments) says:

    Leaving aside the folic acid science issue, about which I know sweet FA, I’ve written to my MP and told him I expect him to help stop this idiocy. My reasoning is simple.

    Choice. real choice, not the go buy organic choice. I want my floppy white bread for my toast and I don’t need or want folic acid doses each day, thank you.

    The Australian Sir Humphreys can get stuffed.

    I thought we voted nanny state out of our lives last November.

    Humpf.

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  52. Ryan Sproull (7,115 comments) says:

    I thought we voted nanny state out of our lives last November.

    Cannabis illegal, check.
    Nanny state, check.

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  53. radar (319 comments) says:

    If bread is Paul Holmes’ “staple food” then he needs to see a nutritionist.

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  54. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    Cannabis illegal, check.

    Holy off topic attempt Batman!

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  55. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    What a joke. So Wilkinson and her National mates can’t do anything because they have signed some agreement with Aus struck a failure. Does anyone think for one minute that if roles were reversed the Aussies would give a fat rats arse about any treaty signed with NZ, give me a bloody break. And if the government is prepared to cower to the bloody Aussies why don’t the whole fucking lot of them resign as it’s obvious we are no longer a sovereign country. Our government has made it’s self irrelevant and we would be better off without all the trough feeders in Wellington.

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  56. OldNews (38 comments) says:

    david, anonymouse
    Nice try. 11E only applies if the revocation results in the issuing of a new standard or the issuing of an amended standard.
    Does not apply to a simple revocation. Check the precedents on this. The distinction between a revocation which doesn’t give rise to 11E and a revocation and replacement or an amendment, which do give rise to 11E, is pretty clear one. FSA will have advised Wilkinson of this.

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  57. bharmer (687 comments) says:

    Open Skies Policy anyone? SSB has a good point.

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  58. xxx (34 comments) says:

    Pollies can do anything they want to anytime they want to. proven.

    In this case, they don’t want to. very simple.

    vote them out at soonest opportunity.

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  59. oxymoron (32 comments) says:

    Can someone tell me why the Food minister didn’t say something like “unlike the previous government we don’t disregard the law and rules when it suits us” when justifying that she “had her hands tied”?

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  60. Cerium (23,559 comments) says:

    Why doesn’t the minister say something like “this obviously needs attention, I’ll deal with it urgently” ?

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  61. joeAverage (311 comments) says:

    Can the idiots who RULE us now do anything right . CAN THEY????? they have johnboy key in charge ( i luv everyone) with a stupid grin always on his mug
    A thought if this minister cannot change a liarbor act and a arrangement with Australia i say GET RID OF THE MINISTER,(STUPID WOMEN) hell is she ex liarbor party the lines of these two parties are SO blurred now DID I VOTE LAIRBOR by mistake as nationals colour is now dirty purple. SIGH whats next ,bromide for evil men to stop rapes, contraception powder for lasy women,i see they are also adding iodine to stop us from becoming dumbies, Go john key ,with all this shit comming up you might be a one term john dumbboy key

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  62. Ryan Sproull (7,115 comments) says:

    Holy off topic attempt Batman!

    Just making sure everyone who’s complaining about the nanny state interfering with their wheat knows they should be complaining about the nanny state interfering with their weed.

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  63. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    Side show Bob thats my point In so many areas the gumint doesnt have control over the laws it enacts. there isnt room to list all of these but you can best be sure that either a UN or bilateral or multilateral covers pretty much everything

    As I said it must be a hell of a shock to a new Minister to find out how neutered they really are

    All those bright new ideas shot down in flames by the Sir Humphries

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  64. Ryan Sproull (7,115 comments) says:

    Will this be affecting anyone else’s buying habits?

    I personally will likely switch to organic breads.

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  65. Cerium (23,559 comments) says:

    I’ll use the breadmaker more. And at least here we would should be ok with pita bread, wraps, naan bread etc. And it depends on what sort of range of specialty breads are exempt.

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  66. adc (595 comments) says:

    I’d rather have folate in my bread than fluoride in my water. Look up fluoride and hyperthyroidism (which is what fluoride was the treatment for), or fluoride and aluminium absorption, or fluorisis.

    I’d rather have neither. If I am to be medicated, I want it to be by my own choice, not some moron who thinks they have the god-given right to decide what is good for me or not – who thinks it’s ok to make decisions for us but won’t take any responsibility for the consequences. They should all be lined up and shot.

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  67. adc (595 comments) says:

    doh fluorosis

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  68. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    You are quite right gd. If the citizens of this country were aware of liberties that had been surrendered or laws signed up to on their behalf in the last decade they would be having bloody kittens. This folic acid controversy is just window dressing, there are far more insidious moves at hand, trust me. Some of the crap that is going on in the world is unbelievable, most of it pushed by the one world government fascists at the UN.

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  69. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    ADC. (4.52)…

    Off topic!

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  70. adc (595 comments) says:

    no same topic – forced mass medication.

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  71. democracymum (648 comments) says:

    tallpoppybasher

    Given that you presumably have a pair – one would hope that you would also know how to spell them
    t.e.s.t.i.c.l.e

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  72. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    OMFG – for once I am in full agreement with democracymum!

    Tallpoppy- political blog discussions carry little to no weight in the real world. You are a shining example of the reason why :-P

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  73. BDB (2 comments) says:

    “I welcome people to disagree with my views, to correct my errors
    to debate what I assert”
    Now that sounds like a great reason to censor people – but in my case you( editor) did not have a reason (someone else made a ‘unsubstatiated’ claim that you’ re a pretentious dicktit).

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  74. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    Driveling, sackable incompetence from Kate Wilkinson. We pay politicians to fix problems not cause them.

    Stop talking to Australians and just tell them it isn’t going to happen.

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  75. Grizz (244 comments) says:

    I have no problem with debate on this issue, but I must say that this slipped under the nose of Sue Kedgely when it was passed in the first place. Why did she not make any noise about it at the time. Perhaps she was keeping quiet in case a ministerial post was to come her way?

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  76. Grizz (244 comments) says:

    Tell Australia that we will put folate in our bread when they freely allow us to export our apples to them.

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  77. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Couple of interesting comments on NBR site From the Horses Mouth.
    The Depth of National…Worrying!
    By Rusty Kane.
    Some breads only is way to go
    The Bread Bakers choice of adding Folic Acid to some breads only is the obvious and sensible way to go about this. It should still placate the idiots in Australia – since when does bread made in NZ get sold in Oz?. Safety of the population majority has to be at the forefront.

    folic acid
    key needs to move swiftly to stem the damage done by kate wilkinson in her q & a interview!!
    we want a government that is in control to repair the damage done by 9 years of cullen/clark incompentence! not one that is controlled by beauracrats!
    the public service has been stacked with “lefties” and a prime mission of our new govt must be to weed them out !!

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  78. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    I don’t often admit this, but I got it wrong.

    Kate, it is time to act. Now!

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  79. Viking2 (11,467 comments) says:

    Perhaps we could trade our fireblight bitten apples for their folate? That would be a fair deal for us. They eat our apples we swallow a bit of B vitamin.
    Funny the Aussies have been eating this stuff in their bread since Adam was a cowboy. Used to weigh it into the ingredients when I was an apprentice many long years ago. Hasn’t done them much harm that I can see. They beat us at the netball, rugby,league, cricket and generally tend to get a lot more sex. So boys stop ranting and try a bit. Folate that is.

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  80. bringbackthebiff (99 comments) says:

    I just want to throw something into the discussion, as I have heard nought about flolic acid over here in Oz. One of my mates owns a Bakers Delight store and knows nothing of compulsory Folic Acid addition in bread, nor in flour. He told me they are advised of any recipe or ingredient changes. He had no idea what I was talking about. Is Australia being used as an excuse not to change a decision made by a previous administration? Does my friend have no clue?, I’d like someone to clear this up. It would be greatly appreciated

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  81. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    Oh, and just because Annette King, got it more wrong when she was the Minister, that’s no excuse for your inaction Kate.

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  82. bringbackthebiff (99 comments) says:

    Viking2 as I posted at 11:19, the loaf on my bench has no Folaic Acid, so it does not appear compulsory in Oz at the moment, and as my baker friend told me today, he has no idea about it, so I question what is actually going on. I am really curious as to what id driving all of this.

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  83. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    I understand in Australia it is going to be hidden in the flour before it gets to the baker or home baker.

    Nice to know your friendly bureaucratic gestapo are more cunning than ours. Or perhaps, contrary to their self-image, Aussies are more spinelessly compliant than Kiwis.

    http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/newsroom/factsheets/factsheets2008/mandatoryfolicacidfo3931.cfm

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  84. Whafe (650 comments) says:

    Seems that a few Politicians need to look at Choppers Youtube video and HTFU……

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  85. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    PamDH making her first post on this blog, at 6.33, in trying to assuage concerns about medicating bread with folic acid, said:”I went to the Cochrane Database and there was only held one small research paper where the sample size is too small to make accurate conclusions.”

    “One small research paper”??? Bull! Pam, you sound like one of Wilkinson’s PRs, or one of the civil servants who run the Minister. It’s a recent secondary analysis led by researchers at the University of Southern California. This secondary analysis of the Aspirin/Folate Polyp Prevention Study found that men who took a daily folic acid supplement of 1 mg had more than twice the risk of prostate cancer compared with men who took a placebo. The results appear in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The research is based on more than 640 men over 10 years.

    Pam you are doing a poor job of Google searching, if you are really trying. Check the following link, where you will find that Chile is the third country to find an increase in colorectal cancer rates since the introduction of mandatory folic acid fortification. This link refers to findings published in The European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

    http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Folic-acid-and-colorectal-cancer-Chilean-study-adds-to-concerns

    None of this proves medicating bread with folic acid will definitely increase incidence of prostate and bowel cancer, both already rife in NZ, but it does raise some doubts, which should be satisfied before first, our bread is medicated, and second, Wilkinson wrecks support for National through her intransigence.

    Additional point: On Close Up on TV1 tonight, the bakers said it was impossible to get a steady spread of folate in bread. This means that some (medicated) bread eaters could be in for quite high doses of folic acid.

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  86. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    Re BringbacktheBiff at 6.37 and Alan Wilkinson at 7.14, Alan is right. All Australian flour is going to be medicated with folic acid. This means it will go into pastry in pies, and all cakes etc with flour in them.

    I don’t think anyone’s woken the Aussies up to what’s going on. DPF ought to start an Ozblog.

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  87. Rachael Rich (204 comments) says:

    Alan, that is very interesting!

    Check the Supermarkets and see how many products are from Oz nowdays, mainly the home brands.

    Not only will New Zealanders get the folate in the bread, but in every single product from Oz that contains flour. The obvious example is biscuits from Arnotts but check labels and you will see that flour is in sauces, pasta, couscous, cereals, gravy, soup, pastry…..

    Bugger 11 slices of bread, some people will get their daily dose from Tim Tams :)

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  88. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Looks like I had a few PC glitches with my post today… oh well.

    Buggerlugs Says:

    July 13th, 2009 at 10:26 am
    I reckon we should be putting oral contraceptives in McDonalds….

    Ha Ha Great post to the point… shows putting Folaic Acid Lube on condoms wouldn’t work.

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  89. Viking2 (11,467 comments) says:

    Rachael Rich, not quite right. things like sauces nowadays contain cornstarch or corn syrup which is in itself a problem. The food chain that once was quite diverse in now focused more and more on corn/maize and corn/maize derived product. The days of wheat derived starch are well gone.
    Pasta may not be fortified so you would need to check that specifically.
    You are right about the groceries to the extent that they are mostly imported but not necessarily from Aust. They can be from anywhere with a house brand label.
    Which is why we have much lower food standards than we did in the eighties and early nineties and is also why we have some many people in our hospital system suffering from Nova Virus. Year last it cost the hospitals $85 million, while saving peanuts in catering costs. DHB’s would be better to contract their food to MacDonalds for you never have heard of anyone suffering food poisoning from Mac’s. In NZ their food is home grown and in most countries it is safer to eat at Macs than any other place.
    If you doubt this wisdom ask yourself how many people get Delli belly when traveling?
    Unfortunately the take over of supermarkets had led to a lowering in the food saftey standards for we have no control over anything imported.

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  90. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    OldNews posted:

    “Nice try. 11E only applies if the revocation results in the issuing of a new standard or the issuing of an amended standard.
    Does not apply to a simple revocation. Check the precedents on this. The distinction between a revocation which doesn’t give rise to 11E and a revocation and replacement or an amendment, which do give rise to 11E, is pretty clear one. FSA will have advised Wilkinson of this.”

    PARDON??????? WTF????? This must be gummint bureaucrat speke, it certainly isn’t english as we know it. lol

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  91. Banana Llama (1,043 comments) says:

    Asia soon to be flooded with boat people from the west, more at 7:00

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  92. Flashman (184 comments) says:

    Wilkinson is clearly way out of her depth. This spineless airhead’s capture by her bureaucratic minions and wonks is on display for all to see.

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  93. OldNews (38 comments) says:

    kaya – certainly not a gummint bureaucrat.
    But some commentators seemed to have bought the Wilkinson-bureaucrat spin that she can’t fix this.
    She can. And she must. Now.

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  94. bringbackthebiff (99 comments) says:

    @jack5.

    Noticed the flour in my cupboard has folic in it. I also have some pasta flour, which comes from Italy, this does not. Aussies are in a permanent sleep regarding real issues. I will take my hat off to the locals kicking a stink about fluoridation.

    Cheers
    BBTB

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  95. Manolo (13,748 comments) says:

    Wilkinson looked pathetic last night in Close Up.

    As a good National Party MP she’s now mastered the art of flip-flopping her position on the subject. The previous week she was adamant folic acid was bad, although she could no nothing about it, last night she said UK study proves foilic acid is safe and it’s all go.

    The spineless woman is out of her depth.

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  96. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    PamDH posted at 11.11am: “Thanks for the public trashing I appreciate it.”

    Sorry, not into sadomasochism, just robust debate. Try the classified advertisements of your local paper on a Saturday, you might get a lead there.

    Seriously, as for Google, it’s just a search engine, but the research referred to is far from rubbish. It’s clearly a warning something may be wrong.

    I doubt if it was warning about possibly increased breast cancer incidence you would ignore it.

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  97. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    PamDH: “I prefer to look at sources of research which has been peer reviewed and authenticated with methodology which can be replicated without bias or error.”

    Then you will be ignoring the latest official claims that folic acid is safe since the research has not yet passed through peer review into publication:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/2590247/Folic-acid-findings-muddy-waters

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  98. Repton (769 comments) says:

    The place to go on the internet for medical papers is PubMed: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/

    A bit of searching turns up a few papers. Here’s one: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19499262?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum This paper comes down on the side of “wait until more work has been done”.

    Here’s another: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19276452?ordinalpos=2&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum “Among the 643 men who were randomly assigned to placebo or supplementation with folic acid, the estimated probability of being diagnosed with prostate cancer over a 10-year period was 9.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 6.5% to 14.5%) in the folic acid group and 3.3% (95% CI = 1.7% to 6.4%) in the placebo group (age-adjusted hazard ratio = 2.63, 95% CI = 1.23 to 5.65, Wald test P = .01).”

    Of course, it’s not that simple: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14506892?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=1&log$=relatedreviews&logdbfrom=pubmed “Prospective cohort and case-control studies suggest an association between low folate intake and increased risk of colo-rectal adenoma and cancer.”

    Or here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14584018?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=2&log$=relatedreviews&logdbfrom=pubmed “In adult life folate deficiency has been known for decades to produce a characteristic form of anaemia (“megaloblastic”). More recently degrees of folate inadequacy, not severe enough to produce anaemia, have been found to be associated with high blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine. [...] High blood levels of homocysteine have been linked with the risk of arterial disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”

    Hmm, tricky. Too much folate and I get prostate cancer, not enough and I get dementia or colon cancer.

    If the fortification goes ahead, I won’t stop eating bread, but I might try to figure out how much I’m getting from other sources..

    [apologies for the formatting. I note it's possible to do links properly but I can't see any indication of what kind of markup language this blog uses for comments]

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