NZ set to defer folic acid move to 2012?
New Zealand is contemplating a deferral of the proposed mandatory fortification of folic acid in bread until 2012 in response to concerns about the safety of the move.
Australia and New Zealand are currently due to make folic acid fortification mandatory as of September 13, but New Zealand is calling for public comment regarding the possibility of putting the plan on the back burner.
Australia is expected to go ahead regardless, creating fears that the joint regulatory system seen across Australia and New Zealand may be fractured. NZ Minister for Food Safety Kate Wilkinson believes a deferral will not strain the relationship, however.
“I am confident that this option addresses the concerns the public have, while also ensuring our relationship with Australia under the joint food regulatory system remains intact,” she said. “There is a consultation process we will go through and a final decision will be made once all submissions have been considered.”
“The proposal aims to give us more time to evaluate the risks and benefits of the standard and to take into account the wishes of New Zealanders.”
The Ministerial Council will meet in May 2012 and discuss the review of the mandatory folic acid standard in Australia. New Zealand could then re-assess whether or not to go ahead with the standard at that point.
A copy of the discussion document will be available from Wednesday at www.nzfsa.govt.nz.
Submissions close on August 12.