Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Science + sense on folate in bread

Science + sense on folate in bread
15-7-09

Fortifying bread with folate has in fact caused decreases in spina bifida rates in several countries where it has been instituted.

It is decades since I taught what little nutrition was in the U of Auckland medical course, and I cannot claim to be up to date on this particular issue; therefore I give below a review by a current expert. I can pass along some less recent history: a decade ago Goodman Fielder Wattie (who supply most of the bread flour used in NZ) were meter a trickle of folic acid into their bread flour, on the initiative of Prof Bob Elliott who told me at the time that GFW were quite happy to spend $1M for the eqpt and perhaps 1/5 of that annual operating costs, as a voluntary contribution to public health.

I believe iodised salt is the nearest analogue - mass medication, if one wishes to call it that, but justified and not dangerous. Is there any informed objection to that public-health measure?

The GFW initiative was furtively torpedoed by Susan Kedgley list-MP, in collusion with K Poutasi M.B.

Later, I happened to be listening to Parliament when Kedgley was asked about this during one of the relatively rare sessions of questions for ordinary MPs as distinct from ministers. Her answer falsified the history of her role in this issue. It is encouraging that she felt ashamed of her prior furtive actions, but dismaying that an MP would lie in such circumstances. BTW she now complains at the lack of debate in Parliament on the issue! You will notice that the 'evidence' she now relies on is all v recent, or even future ("there's more data coming out at the end of this year") - none of what she deemed a decade ago sufficient to block the fortification.

It's annoying to hear from Kitschley, and her raving ally on TV3 this morning, the ignorant line that folic acid is a chemical whereas folate is a vitamin. I know of no reason to think the folic acid used in supplements is functionally different from the natural vitamin.

I believe the potential coalition of scientists & medicos on the side of reason & justice in this issue would be extremely strong, but has yet to be formed, and with infotainment barons like Holmes® making mischief the influence of science is far less than it used to be. Dr Dixon, whose NZMJ article is reproduced below, said on TV3 this morning that folate decreases, not increases, cancer rates; a relevant prof of the Otago med sch said on TV news last night that a comprehensive literature survey by Oxford U experts had concluded there's no proven effect - which is what would be expected for small doses of a water-soluble vitamin.

The legal context is the much-disputed surrendering of NZ control over food standards (we count roughly like one Australian state on the dubious regulatory body ANZFA). I agree with Kitschley on this politico-legal issue. That our minister of food standards, and now our prime minister (stampeded by Holmes®) are trying to evade the ANZFA decision for folate fortification in most bread is welcome in the sense that it constitutes some publicity for the wrongfulness of our losing control over food standards.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

SOE Results: TVNZ Lifts Annual Profit 25% On Flat Ad Revenue, Quits Igloo

Television New Zealand, the state-owned broadcaster, lifted annual profit 25 percent, ahead of forecast and despite a dip in advertising revenue, while quitting its stake in the pay-TV Igloo joint venture with Sky Network Television. More>>

ALSO:

Insurers Up For More Payouts: Chch Property Investor Wins Policy Appeal In Supreme Court

Ridgecrest NZ, a property investor, has won an appeal in the Supreme Court over insurance cover provided by IAG New Zealand for a Christchurch building damaged in four successive earthquakes. More>>

ALSO:

Other Cases:

Royal Society: Review Finds Community Water Fluoridation Safe And Effective

A review of the scientific evidence for and against the efficacy and safety of fluoridation of public water supplies has found that the levels of fluoridation used in New Zealand create no health risks and provide protection against tooth decay. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Croxley Calls Time On NZ Production In Face Of Cheap Imports

Croxley Stationery, whose stationery brands include Olympic, Warwick and Collins, plans to cease manufacturing in New Zealand because it has struggled to compete with lower-cost imports in a market where the printed word is giving way to electronic communications. More>>

ALSO:

Prefu Roundup: Forecasts Revised, Surplus Intact

The National government heads into the election with its Budget surplus target broadly intact, delivering a set of economic and fiscal forecasts marginally revised from May to reflect weaker commodity prices and a lower tax take. More>>

ALSO:

Convention Centre: Major New SkyCity Hotel And Laneway For Auckland

Today SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited revealed plans to build a new hotel and pedestrian laneway of bars, restaurants and boutique shopping on land it owns in the Nelson and Hobson Streets block, expanding the SKYCITY Entertainment Precinct. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news