It’s not often I’ll praise a National Party Cabinet Minister. And I was about as far as you get from praising Kate Wilkinson when she was ramming the anti-worker Fire at Will Bill through Parliament under urgency as Minister of Labour last year.
But yesterday as Minister of Food Safety she got something right:
The Minister of Food Safety has spoken out strongly against the imminent compulsory addition of folic acid to most bread.
“I’m not a fan,” Kate Wilkinson said yesterday of the transtasman food standard that requires the synthetic vitamin be added to virtually all bread from September. “I sympathise with the bakers’ frustration.”
While Cabinet hasn’t yet decided exactly how it will overturn the Food Standards Australia New Zealand ruling that would require the mass medication of New Zealanders’ bread with folic acid, it is pretty clear that the ruling is on the way out.
I acknowledge that increased dosage of folic acid for pregnant women can help reduce the incidence of conditions such as spina bifida. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us should have to get it too. It does have health risks as well as health benefits.