Review of folic acid fortification of food

Closing Date:
Contact: Food policy team

Update – 9 July 2020

Before COVID-19, MPI was reviewing folic acid fortification of food in New Zealand. This work is paused while MPI staff support the COVID-19 response.

Have your say

Folic acid is an essential B vitamin important for the healthy development of babies early in pregnancy. There is overwhelming evidence that consuming sufficient folic acid before conception and during early pregnancy can prevent many cases of neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

MPI is seeking feedback on options for strengthening fortification of bread or fortifying wheat flour.

The consultation runs from 1 October to 12 November 2019.

What's being proposed

Public meetings

Consultation documents

Folic acid fortification: Increasing folic acid availability in food [PDF, 2.3 MB]

Short consultation guide [PDF, 508 KB]

Related documents

MPI technical supporting document [PDF, 1.9 MB]

Sapere cost utility analysis [PDF, 711 KB]

The health benefits and risks of folic acid fortification of food – Office of the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor

MPI 2018 folic acid monitoring report [PDF, 1.1 MB]

What's being proposed?

New Zealand’s rate of neural tube defects is higher than it could be, and Māori women have higher rates of affected live births than other groups. The financial, social, and emotional impact from these birth defects can be significant for many families, whānau, and communities across New Zealand.

MPI recognises the importance of this issue and is seeking feedback on whether the government should:

  • continue with the current voluntary approach of fortifying up to 50% of packaged sliced bread
  • ask industry to enhance the voluntary approach to fortify 80% of packaged sliced bread, or
  • introduce mandatory fortification of bread, bread-making wheat flour, or all wheat flour.

All options would exclude organic products.

Folic acid fortification is an effective way to reduce our rate of neural tube defects. There is no conclusive evidence that folic acid in the amount recommended for fortification has any harmful effects on health.

Hearing the views of the public will help us understand the possible impacts of the proposals.

Making your submission


Online submission form – SurveyMonkey

The online submission form provides comment boxes for each question which you may use to tell us your preferred option.


Submission template [DOCX, 48 KB]



While we prefer email, you can send your submission by post to:

Consultation: Folic Acid Fortification
Ministry for Primary Industries
PO Box 2526
Wellington 6104

Feedback on the consultation closes on 5pm on 12 November 2019.  All submissions received by the closing date will be considered.

What to include in your submission

Make sure you include:

  • the title of the consultation document in the subject line of your email
  • your name and title
  • your organisation’s name (if you’re submitting on behalf of an organisation)
  • your contact details (for example phone number, address, and email).

Public meetings

As part of the consultation, we’re holding public meetings in Wellington, Christchurch, and Auckland.

Tuesday 15 October, 10am to 12pm: Wellington. Sign up – Eventbrite
Monday 21 October, 10am to 12pm: Christchurch. Sign up – Eventbrite
Tuesday 22 October, 10am to 12pm: Auckland. Sign up – Eventbrite

Submissions are public information

Note that any submission you make becomes public information. People can ask for copies of submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we have to make submissions available unless we have a good reason for withholding them. That is explained in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA.

Tell us if you think there are grounds to withhold specific information in your submission. Reasons might include that it’s commercially sensitive or personal information. However, any decision MPI makes to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may tell us to release it.

Last reviewed: