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

 

Scoop Business: RBNZ Keeps OCR At 3.5%, Signals Slower Pace Of Future Hikes

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 3.5 percent and signalled he won’t be as aggressive with future rate hikes as previously thought as inflation remains tamer than expected. The kiwi dollar fell to a seven-month low. More>>

ALSO:

Weather: Dry Spells Take Hold In South Island

Many areas in the South Island are tracking towards record dry spells as relatively warm, dry weather that began in mid-August continues... for some South Island places, the current period of fine weather is quite rare. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Productivity Commission To Look At Housing Land Supply

The Productivity Commission is to expand on its housing affordability report with an investigation into improving land supply and development capacity, particularly in areas with strong population growth. More>>

ALSO:

Forestry: Man Charged After 2013 Death

Levin Police have arrested and charged a man with manslaughter in relation to the death of Lincoln Kidd who was killed during a tree felling operation on 19 December 2013. More>>

ALSO:

Smells Like Justice: Dairy Company Fined Over Odour

Dairy company fined over odour Dairy supply company Open Country Dairy Limited has been convicted and fined more than $35,000 for discharging objectionable odour from its Waharoa factory at the time of last year’s ”spring flush” when milk supply was high. More>>

Scoop Business: Dairy Product Prices Decline To Lowest Since July 2012

Dairy product prices dropped to the lowest level since July 2012 in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, led by a slump in rennet casein and butter milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

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:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

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