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An organic exemption from folic?

Soil & Health Association of New Zealand (Est. 1941)
Publishers of ORGANIC NZ

The Soil & Health Association is thrilled that there is to be a review of the decision to mandatorily fortify bread with folic acid.

The review allows further opportunity for an exemption from the fortification proposal for organic breads to be considered.

"Soil & Health is grateful that New Zealand Food Safety Minister Annette King has allowed this further opportunity", said Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning.

Soil & Health and other organic organisations on both sides of the Tasman have called for their Food Standards Ministers to allow consumer choice through an organic exemption.

"Such an exemption would allow for organic bread to be as organic consumers expect," said Mr Browning, "that is, bread without any artificial additives."

The Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council meeting held in Sydney, where NZ's Food Safety Minister met with 9 Australian ministers yesterday, reinforced its commitment to mandatory fortification, with the review over 6 months.

The Ministers' joint communiqué included,
"Food Standards Australia New Zealand have been asked to review the proposed standard due to technical considerations with the implementation of the standard, and compliance issues, within six months."

Soil & Health is aware of many letters to NZ Minister Annette King from organic consumers. Australian organic consumers and organisations recently also called on Australian Ministers to consider an exemption.

Members of Parliament from a range of parties also supported the Soil & Health position, as did New Zealand Consumers Institute, with Organics Aotearoa New Zealand leading an organic sector delegation to a recent meeting with Annette King.

"An organic exemption from mandatory fortification with folic acid would show acknowledgement of the rights of organic consumers to continue selecting their food according to their needs, and for organic millers and bakers to remain in business", said Mr Browning.

An exemption for organic bread will give all consumers a choice of a fortification free product while still accessing a healthy option.

ENDS

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