At the ninth meeting of the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council, held in Sydney yesterday (25 October), Ministerial Council members reinforced their commitment to introduce the mandatory fortification of bread with folic acid "as quickly as possible". It is hoped that such a move would reduce the number of neural tube defects.

The meeting, which was chaired by Christopher Pyne, Parliamentary Secretary to the Australian Government Minister for Health and Ageing, discussed the Final Assessment Report from Food Standards Australia New Zealand on a proposal for consideration of mandatory fortification of food with folic acid.

FSANZ has been asked by the Ministerial Council to review the proposed changes to legislation and consider technical implications associated with the implementation of the standard. This review is to be completed within the next six-months.