Child Poverty Action Group welcomes moves to protect children through folic acid fortification

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) welcomes the announcement by Food Safety Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall, that fortification of wheat flour will be made mandatory within two years.

The addition of folic acid to all non-organic bread-making wheat flour will reduce the incidence of birth defects which can cause life-long disability. Currently, cheaper white bread lacks folate, meaning poorer women are at more risk of being folate deficient, according to the Public Health Association.

“This is about protecting children,” CPAG health spokesperson and GP Professor Nikki Turner says. “This move creates a cost-effective and simple way for all parents to access the micro-nutrients that can help reduce neural tube defects which can impact children severely.”

“The change announced today will bring New Zealand in line with other countries like Australia and ensure that there is easier access to critical nutrients which support healthy pregnancies and good outcomes for children,” says Professor Turner.