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Prime Minister Says Government Considering Folic Acid In Bread

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Pic: Mark Hillary
Pic: Mark Hillary

Wellington, May 18 NZPA - Prime Minister John Key said the Government was taking advice on forcing bakers and supermarkets to add folic acid to bread.

The issue would be taken to Cabinet by the end of the month and would take into account a market research survey that found 87 percent of people did not want mandatory fortification of bread with folic acid, Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson said.

She has asked officials to review the decision made by the last government.

In 2007 former food safety Minister Annette King said the decision, jointly made with Australia, was "a triumph for humanity and common sense".

Mr Key told Newstalk ZB the Government was taking advice and considering the decision.

It was difficult to be sure of the effect, he said.

Supporters of the move said New Zealand women were folate deficient and improving their intake would reduce the number of babies born with serious neural tube defects, such as spina bifida and hydrocephalus, by up to 14 cases a year.

But bakers and supermarkets say when the new rules take effect in September they want government protection from lawsuits because some research shows that it may cause colon cancer.

Opponents also say it is unlikely women would eat the required 11 slices of bread per day. NZPA PAR kc il nb

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