Our friend Zen is not happy that the Government has decreed that Folic acid is to be added to our bread.
Our food safety minister (I bet you didn't know we had a one of those), Annette King has ruled that humble bakers throughout the land must add this supplement to our bread.
Food Safety Minister Annette King yesterday said the decision, jointly made with Australia, was "a triumph for humanity and common sense".
In New Zealand the acid would be added as the bread was made and Australia had decided to add it to flour -- something the New Zealand Green Party opposed.
"New Zealand women do not get enough natural folate in the diet to prevent a large number of babies being born with devastating neural tube defects, the most common of which are spina bifida and hydrocephalus," Ms King said.
The trouble is of course folate is a member of the B vitamin group and the best source of B vitamins is animal products. The very things that nutritionists have been saying for years we eat too much of.
Anyway when the new regulations take effect 100 gms bread (which must be just about the whole damn loaf, no?) will contain about as much folate as 1/2 of one chicken liver. A slice of toast with pate would just about meet a pregnant woman's daily dietary requirement (as it is defined to be today) for folate without the need for any to be added to the bread.
But don't let any inconvienant facts get in the way of a new government regulation.
Of course this whole folate thing is predicated on epidemiological studies which don't always turn out the way you want.
As in this study in the British Medical Journal where taking folate suppliments is linked to an increased probability of a woman developing breast cancer.
Of course pointing such studies out to big government types will meet with the response that it was just chance that led to such results.
Which it quite possibly was - but the same argument applies to the studies they use to justify new regulations on the baking of bread.