8 JULY 2021: Changes to Folic Acid Fortification
The Government announced its decision to mandate the fortification of non-organic wheat flour used for bread making with folic acid.
This decision, to change from the current voluntary fortification of bread to mandatory fortification of flour for bread making, 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 14 August 2023.
Adding folic acid to bread-making flour
By mid-August 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.
From early 2023, New Zealand Food Safety will be working with industry to develop resources and guidance to assist with understanding and meeting the requirements of this standard. Guidance will cover the monitoring and testing of folic acid levels at the mill and how this is to be checked and verified.
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 2-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.
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.
Find out more
Who to contact
If you have questions about folic acid fortification, email firstname.lastname@example.org