The Herald reports:
Newly-appointed Food Safety Minister David Bennett has raised the possibility of a return to mandatory addition of folic acid to bread in New Zealand.
Bennett last month attended a high-level ministerial forum in Australia, where new research was presented showing the health benefits of Australia’s mandatory folic acid regime, introduced in 2009.
I have no doubt there are health benefits from adding folic acid, but this should be a choice for consumers.
This is not like fluoridation, where water is delivered through one community supply to homes, so it is either fluoridated or not fluoridated.
This is about making it illegal for someone to produce bread without adding folic acid to it.
People who don’t want fluoridated water can still get non fluoridated water. But if you make folic acid mandatory in bread, then no one can get bread without folic acid in it.
It is understood that New Zealand has also had a reduction in neural tube defects under the voluntary regime, but not to the same extent as Australia.
Surely the data for both should be public, so we can judge. But based on this assertion the voluntary scheme is proving beneficial.