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If people need folic Acid. they can take a supplement. It should not be forced upon the population via the bread supply. Some people could have a allergic reaction to it. Like all the food products that are overly fortified with iron. My brother suffers from a medical condition to having too much iron in his blood and has to be very careful on what food products he gets, because of the over dosing of iron in so many food products these days.

Nanny state likes to force it's will on us when it comes to certain health issues regardless of the long term consequences. I.E Fluoridation, etc and at the same times it's trying to regulate our choice of vitamin and health supplements.


The justification for mass medication of virtually the entire population, minus home bread bakers and organic buyers, with artificial folate, is that it will reduce rates of birth defects.

Ignoring for a moment the reality that folated bread won't do much for the average young expectant mother, who is not a traditionally large consumer of bread, should we consider the causes behind the increase in birth defect rates (assuming, of course, that they are on the increase)?

Aspartame, also known by its proprietory brand name, is an artificial sweetener used increasingly since its accidental discovery in 1965. It can now be found in pretty much anything labelled as "diet" or lite".

Aspartame is made from three things, aspartic acid and phenylanaline, which are amino acids, and methanol, which is a lower alcohol, an industial solvent, and a physical and neurotoxin. Methanol - or methyl alcohol - is the stuff in methylated spirits (meths) which makes winos go blind. Aspartame contains 11% methanol.

Methanol is metabolised in the human body by alcohol dehydrogenase, an enzyme which converts it into first formaldehyde, and then formic acid. These chemicals attack the optic nerve and the retina, and also cause permanent damage to mitochondrial DNA, resulting in birth defects in children born to mothers who have consumed methanol, or who have consumed aspartame which then breaks down releasing methanol.

Methanol is processed slowly by the body, taking anything up to four days to leave the system. Formaldehyde and formic acid are cumulative in their effect. The longer they remain in the system, the worse the cumulative damage becomes.

Fortunately, it is known that folic acid greatly speeds the body's metabolism of formic acid, and it is used along with ethanol (regular drinking alcohol) in the treatment of methanol poisoning. Ethanol is used because the body processes different alcohols in strict order, starting with ethanol; while alcohol dehydrogenase is tied up dealing with the ethanol, it can't convert the methanol into it's deadly byproducts, formaldehyde and formic acid. Folic acid, and at least one proprietory drug based on it, are used to eliminate formic acid from the body before it does too much damage.

It may be that an increasing birth defect rate coinciding with the increased use of aspartame is purely coincidental; but we do know that the one does cause the other, and while it is certainly not the only cause, surely it must make sense, if we wish to decease the birth defect rate, to ban the use of something which we know to be one of its causes, rather than add a partial cure to a food source which is unlikely to materially affect the target demographic?

Expectant mothers probably do have enough folate in their diets to deal with any methanol which they may consume from natural sources - fruit products, wine, and the like - but may not be consuming enough to deal with the added burden of methanol sourced from aspartame.

Now I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that many people would believe the Minister, being a member of the current Cabinet, is either not very bright, or is perhaps questionably motivated, or possibly both; but maybe she just isn't aware of this process of metabolism, and hasn't heard of the perils of the aforementioned substance before.

Either way, I don't believe that adding folate to bread will work, and in any case, compulsory mass medication of an entire population isn't good Government, it's Nazism.

Grant ( a new one)

AcidComments, the editor of the Sunday Star Times says we shouldn't use the term "Nanny State". Please cease and desist. Thank you.


I wonder why they chose bread as their product of choice to add folate to.


Notice that the initiative is being taken at same time as Australia, so it must be well considered.

Also the quantity of folic acid is a very small percentage indeed.

Have any hazards been identified.


That's got me wondering as well, Lucyna, I mean if they really wanted to target potential mothers, then maybe they could have chosen RTDs or coffee or KFC or Lite Milk or 101 other things, which young mothers are known to consume.

But maybe the particular form of Folic Acid, which has its copyright owned by the particular company which is paying them to promote this particular line, binds most effectively to wheat flour. I mean who would question's scientific and all that, y'know?


has anyone thought that maybe instead of adding this stuff into bread they should be subsidising the cost of folic acid supplements, hell how about for pregnant women with a doctors script they get it for free. but then again we arent allowed to have choices in NZ anymore are we.


Dear Mr Kiwitrouthunter;

Do you not realize that we cannot trust the women of New Zealand especially those of a darker hue to take the medicine that is good for them.

Thus it is decreed that all New Zealanders, regardless of race gender, sexual orientation or age and in the name of egalitate, shall be vitamized.


FDA Issues New Safety Rules for Vitamins

For the first time, manufacturers of vitamins, herbal pills and other dietary supplements will have to test all of their products' ingredients, the Food and Drug Administration announced Friday.

The agency is phasing in the new rule, which is designed to address concerns that existing federal regulations allowed supplements onto the market that were contaminated or didn't contain the dietary ingredients claimed on the label.


"Thus it is decreed that all New Zealanders, regardless of race gender, sexual orientation or age and in the name of egalitate, shall be vitamized. "

so sayeth the nanny state

best multivitamin

It is better to take organic foods and vitamins only. Stay away from synthetic vitamins.


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