Kate Wilkinson announced last week:
The fortification of bread with folic acid will remain voluntary, Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson announced today.
A thorough eight-week public consultation process by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) resulted in 134 submissions, of which 88 supported voluntary instead of mandatory fortification.
“In making my decision in favour of voluntary fortification, I read all the submissions and the clear message is that people want choice,” Ms Wilkinson says.
I am pleased with this decision. Personally I hope bakers decide to include folic acid in the bread they sell, but it has to be a choice. Any other decision could have been a slippery slope.
Women’s red blood folate levels have increased in the past few years under the existing voluntary fortification. Between 2008 and 2011 the level of women with blood folate levels that put them at risk of having a neural tube defect (NTD) affected pregnancy has nearly halved.
“Folic acid plays an important role in reducing NTDs in babies, but fortification of bread is only one part of a wider package of initiatives.”
We encourage parents in New Zealand to vaccinate their children, but we don’t make it compulsory. This is in keeping with that tradition.Tags: bread, folic acid, Nanny State