Consumer Choice with Folic Acid
Never before have New Zealanders’ been subject to mandatory fortification of their food. Never before have New Zealand’s organic bakers been faced with having to add synthetic additives to their bread. Organic products must have an exemption from mandatory fortification.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) have decided to mandatory fortify bread with folic acid and are expected to make a similar decision for iodine. Both are outside organic consumer expectations.
Food Safety Minister Annette King, meeting with fellow Australian Ministers, can either agree with the decision at the Food Standards Ministerial Council meeting in Canberra, October 25, or seek a review of the decision.
Soil & Health, and the organic bakers and flour millers listed below, call on the Hon. Annette King to allow New Zealand consumers an organic choice.
The Soil & Health Association of New Zealand Inc is 65 years old, and is the largest membership organisation supporting organic food and farming in New Zealand, and as such advocates for a healthy natural diet derived from food produced organically and free from additives.
Organic bakers, farmers and millers using natural growing, and baking techniques and ingredients seek an exemption from mandatory fortification of bread with folic acid and iodine.
Organic bakers do not use synthetic additives, and such additives are completely against the principles of organic production.
Small mills will have difficulty in equipping for fortification and this would be a barrier to fair trade. Some mills may have to close down.
Organic bakers take pride in the natural quality of their products.
Organic consumers seek out organic products because of the way they are produced and the absence of synthetic ingredients. Many organic breads are whole grain, maintaining natural folate.
Organic consumers are most often health conscious and many use specific dietary items to address known nutritional gaps.
The Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) decision for mandatory fortification with folic acid and the proposal to fortify with either potassium/sodium iodate/iodide is without precedent in New Zealand. No other fortification of food has ever been mandatory in New Zealand.
Consumers have indicated in surveys that they do not want mandatory fortification. In a New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) 2005 study, 84% thought mandatory fortification should not apply. Over 75% of the study group emphasised consumer choice is very important.
The only consumer choice granted by FSANZ is unleavened breads and unfortified flour. This is not really choice for most consumers.
An exemption for organic bread will give all consumers a choice of a fortification free product while still accessing a healthy option.
* Purebread – Robert Glensor Ph 04 902 9686, 0274 575 964
* Breadman – Steffen Klink Ph 03 365 0990
* Venerdi – Phil Ph 09 813 5481
* Helios Bakery – Matthias Kroeger Ph 09 372 8382
* Dovedale – Greg Ph 03 539 1167
* Essene Bread – Colin Thomson Ph 09 835 1223
* Watermill Bakery – Bolli Bolliger Ph 06 370 1129
* Quake Bake – Robert Hass Ph 06 833 6446
* Millmore Downs – Ian & Gita Henderson Ph 03 314 3712
* Terrace Farm – Geoff & Ira Wilson Ph 03 302 8663
* NZ BioGrains – Harry & Mary Lowe Ph 03 308 7349
Below are examples of the options left for consumers who want to avoid mandatory fortification of all other bread with folic acid and iodine. The other alternative is to bake your own bread.