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Folate decision a severe blow

30 August 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Folate decision a severe blow

Today’s decision by the Minister of Food Safety not to introduce mandatory fortification of bread with folate is a severe blow, says Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson, Damien O’Connor.

“This decision will affect hundreds of children and families who will have to deal with neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, in future.

“Much of the food we eat contains ingredients to preserve, add taste or improve the safety of the product – this is no different.

“Folate, which is effectively vitamin B9, has shown to have huge benefits for pregnant mothers. The extreme claims that overconsumption will harm health are mischievous at best, and very harmful to too many children and families,” Damien O’Connor said.

“The ideal that each and every one of us has a full balanced diet and leads a wholesome balanced life is a reality for very few people.

“The fact is that many people take supplements to ensure they are healthy and mandatory fortification of bread is one small step to protect the health and vitality of unborn children.

“Inadequate vitamin B for pregnant mothers creates a huge risk and is one that the Minister should have taken seriously.

“The benefits are huge, the costs minimal, and the consequences of not fortifying are too great for too many,” said Damien O’Connor.
ends

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