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

 

Errors Found: Electricity Authority Dumps Transmission Pricing Modelling

The Electricity Authority is ditching the cost-benefit analysis at the heart of its controversial attempt to find a new way to divide up costs for the national grid after finding an expanding range of serious computational errors in the work by Australian consultancy Oakley Greenwood. More>>

ALSO:

New Record: Migrant Arrivals At 129,500 A Year

Annual net migration has been steadily increasing since 2012. "This was mainly due to the rising number of migrant arrivals to New Zealand," population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said. "Fewer migrant departures also contributed to the increase in net migration." More>>

ALSO:

Launched: NASA's Super Pressure Balloon Takes Flight From NZ

NASA successfully launched its football-stadium-sized, heavy-lift super pressure balloon (SPB) from Wanaka, New Zealand, at10:50 a.m. Tuesday, April 25 (6:50 p.m. April 24 in U.S. Eastern Time), on a mission designed to run 100 or more days floating at 110,000 feet (33.5 km) about the globe in the southern hemisphere's mid-latitude band. More>>

ALSO:

Trade Agreements: TPP Minus US Starting To Gain Ground

The Japanese government is picking up the pace on reviving the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade and investment deal, with talks scheduled next month among the 11 countries left in the pact after the withdrawal by the US after the election of president Donald Trump. More>>

ALSO:

PACER:

Prices Up 2.2%: Annual Inflation Highest In Over Five Years

"Rising petrol prices along with the annual rise in cigarette and tobacco tax lifted inflation," prices senior manager Jason Attewell said. "Petrol prices in New Zealand are closely linked to global oil prices, and cigarettes and tobacco taxes rise in the March quarter each year". More>>

ALSO:

Undertaxed? NZ Income Tax Rate Second Lowest Among Developed Nations

New Zealand workers pay the second smallest portion of their income to the government among developed nations and less than half the average ratio of their Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development peers. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news