Nutrition strategy and research
Find out about MPI's Nutrition Strategy and research projects intended to improve the safety and suitability of the food supply.
A high-level strategy document describing MPI's growing role in the area of nutrition, including priority work programmes.
Nutrition Strategy 2009–12 [PDF, 231 KB]
This survey was commissioned by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority to inform a broad review of risk management options that aim to improve the blood folate status of women of child-bearing age. Inadequate intakes of folate and folic acid are associated with an increased risk of a woman having a child with a neural tube defect (NTD). A standard requiring the mandatory addition of folic acid to bread was to come into force in September 2009, but this has been deferred until May 2012 and voluntary provisions for the addition of folic acid to bread remain in place.
This report collates information on the breadth and range of vitamin D fortified foods in New Zealand, technological issues associated with vitamin D fortification, and methodological issues associated with analyses of vitamin D in different food matrices.
The aim of this study was to estimate the impact of the mandatory replacement of non-iodised salt with iodised salt in bread in New Zealand on the dietary iodine intakes of children 5-14 years of age.
Report on the microbiological safety of fresh produce in New Zealand.
The aim of the current project was to measure the levels of folate in a range of fortified food
types and to compare these levels to those of levels claimed in the nutrition information panel
(NIP) on the product labels, to underpin the development of food standards relating to
The aim of the current project was to assess the levels of iron and folate in fortified foods and to compare levels to those claimed on product labels.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that can be synthesised in the body through exposure to sunlight or obtained through eating foods that are naturally good sources of Vitamin D. A deficiency of vitamin D can lead to rickets in children and osteomalacia (poor bone mineralisation) and osteoporosis (bone loss) in adults. Research suggests that vitamin D may also play a role in the prevention of certain cancers.
The aim of the project was to assess levels of vitamin C and zinc in a range of food types, and selenium in infant formulae; and to compare these to average levels claimed on product labels, and in the case of selenium in infant formula, to the mandatory minimum and maximum levels in the Standard 2.9.1 of the Food Standards Code. This information will assist in the development of food standards relating to nutrient fortification. The project follows similar projects assessing levels of folate and iron (2005) and vitamin A, vitamin D and calcium (2006).
- Scientific Interpretive summary [PDF, 15 KB]
A series of focus groups were run to examine aspects of the preparation of powdered infant formula. Participants in the focus groups were caregivers currently engaged in the preparation of infant formula. The three focus groups (two in Auckland, one in Christchurch) were made up of a total of 14 mothers, aged 20-41 years, with infants aged 1-11 months.
The work described in this report was undertaken to determine the level of iodine in retail salt
Summary of the iodine status of New Zealand adults using the 2014/15 New Zealand Health Survey (NZHS) data following mandatory fortification of bread with iodine in September 2009. MPI Technical – Paper No: 2016/32.
Infant Formula Preparation
The aim of this work was to provide information on the sodium and iodine concentration in a range of commercially produced bread currently being sold in New Zealand to:
•allow a comparison of analysed sodium concentration with label claim,
•compare values from this project with values from previous projects to determine
whether sodium levels in bread have changed, and
•identify baseline values for iodine levels in bread which will be used as an integral part
of monitoring the food supply post implementation of mandatory iodine fortification of
bread in 2009.
- Scientific Interpretive Summary-Sodium [DOCX, 23 KB]
Sodium, mostly in the form of sodium chloride or salt, is widely used in foods to enhance flavour, preserve food, and improve processing. Around three quarters of sodium intake in Western countries is consumed in processed foods with a further 10-15 % added in cooking and at the table. Although sodium is an essential nutrient, the majority of the world’s population consumes far in excess of what is required, and more than recommended dietary guidelines. High sodium intake is a cause of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and renal disease. It is associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer, and osteoporosis.
Key data gaps for sodium concentration of processed foods were filled through the analysis of 21 targeted foods to augment existing data from the 2003/04 New Zealand Total Diet Survey and the New Zealand Food Composition Database.
Current estimates indicate that the majority of people in New Zealand and Australia are likely to have dietary iodine intake levels below their respective dietary reference intakes. An extension of permissions for voluntary iodine fortification of an increased number of foods and mandatory iodine fortification with potassium or sodium iodide or iodate are being considered as a possible means of improving the iodine status of New Zealanders and Australians.
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