Fortification of flour with the B vitamin folic acid

All non-organic wheat flour used for making bread must be fortified with the B vitamin, folic acid, by mid-2023.

8 JULY 2021: Changes to Folic Acid Fortification

The Government announced its decision to mandate the fortification of folic acid in non-organic wheat flour used for bread making.

This decision aims to improve health outcomes and health equity, while considering cost-effectiveness and consumer choice. There is a 2-year transition period for existing flour millers to make the necessary changes, ending mid-2023.

Read the Government's press release – Beehive

Review of folic acid fortification (consultation)

The health benefits and risks of folic acid fortification of food – Office of the Prime Minister's chief science advisor and the Royal Society Te Apārangi

Adding folic acid to bread-making flour

By mid-2023, flour millers must comply with Standard 2.1.1 – 5 (a) Cereal and Cereal Products of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, which outlines that non-organic wheat flour that is sold as suitable for making bread must contain no less than 2mg/kg, and no more than 3mg/kg of folic acid.

Standard 2.1.1 – 5 (a) – Cereal and Cereal Products of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code

New Zealand Food Safety will be working with industry to develop resources and guidance to assist flour millers with understanding and meeting the requirements of this Standard.

Adding folic acid to bread

In 2014, the New Zealand Association of Bakers agreed to fortify 25% to 50% of bread with folic acid through a Code of Practice. The Code of Practice for Voluntary Folic Acid Fortification of Bread will no longer be valid once fortification of folic acid becomes mandatory, as the New Zealand (Permitted Fortification of Folic Acid in Bread) Food Standard will be revoked at the end of the two-year transition period.

During this transition period, bread that is fortified with folic acid must meet the requirements set out in the New Zealand (Permitted Fortification of Folic Acid in Bread) Food Standard 2012. This means that until flour millers begin mandatory folic acid fortification, bread makers may fortify bread with folic acid.

New Zealand (Permitted Fortification of Folic Acid in Bread) Food Standard 2012 [PDF, 71 KB]

Code of Practice for Voluntary Folic Acid Fortification of Bread – Bake Info

Guide to adding folic acid to bread

We have a guide to adding folic acid to bread for bakers, retailers, and food safety officers. It will help you interpret and apply the voluntary standard. This guide can be followed until mandatory folic acid fortification is implemented. After this date, this guidance will no longer be valid.

The addition of folic acid and iodised salt to bread [PDF, 182 KB]

Labelling of folic acid-fortified food

Food that is fortified with folic acid needs to be labelled. ‘Folate’ or ‘folic acid’ must be included in the ingredients list where it has been added to food.

Fortification of bread with folic acid – questions and answers

Find out more

Folate and folic acid added to food

Nutrient research – Folic acid project reports

Who to contact

If you have questions about folic acid fortification, email info@mpi.govt.nz

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