Toast

Written By: - Date published: 3:00 pm, July 12th, 2009 - 32 comments
Categories: flip-flop, food, health, national, national/act government - Tags: , ,

Wilkinson Key white breadWhat a horrifying sight today’s Q+A interview with Minister of Food Safety Kate Wilkinson made. It was a shameful performance from a media point of view, with Wilkinson looking ineffectual, implausible and well out of her depth. But from a political point of view it was gobsmacking.

Wilkinson enthusiastically admitted that she didn’t agree with new regulations for the mandatory inclusion of folic acid in all bread (except organic) but pointed to other countries that have it. She also acknowledged that it may be unsafe but then said it is safe but “the science is light” (citing that it was some how not very qualitative or quantitative [wft?]). Wilkinson then went on to say she would review the regulation, presumably with a view to reversing it, after it comes into effect.

Yes folks, after it comes into effect.

Good for the bread packaging and advertising industries I suppose, with all that re-labelling and re-re-labelling that’ll be required, but the bakers aren’t too pleased with such dithering.

Wilkinson’s gross unpreparedness for that interview (or without a crash course, to appear in front of any camera for that matter), was painfully apparent. It looked like she was popping in to the studio for a quick chat with that lovely man Paul Holmes on the way to Sunday bowls. I think she got a surprise. She certainly seemed to me to have come off looking foolish, and the panel’s post-mortem suggested I wasn’t the only one.

Personally, I’m fairly agnostic about the fortification of staple foods. Folic acid deficiency is common in those who don’t eat enough green leafy vegetables (a tell-tale sign is a slight yellowey discolouration above the top lip, like a faint tan moustache). Adequate levels are vital for the healthy spinal development of foetuses. There are suggestions it may also potentiate prostate cancer.

Regardless of the arguments for and against, Wilkinson has oafishly admitted that New Zealand has either surrendered its sovereignty over its food-safety to Australia, or at least can’t be bothered causing any fuss, and is now passing regulations that our own Minister of Food Safety considers could be unsafe.

32 comments on “Toast”

  1. Anita 1

    Why didn’t Holmes as Wilkinson the very simple question “If you don’t like it, and it will take three months to review, why didn’t you ask for the review at the May meeting?”

  2. torydog 2

    It was cringe making……i almost felt sorry for her (got over that) and was simply horrified at how dreadful she came across…dah dah dah!!!!

    This is what NZ voted for….tragic!!!!!!!

  3. Outofbed 3

    It seems obvious that Sue K would be a much better Food safety Minister

  4. 8 months after an election an yet again a National minister is found out of her depth in a shallow pool

  5. Murray 5

    Wasn’t this regulation introduced by labour?
    To constantly slag off the messengers for their inexperience in interviews is somewhat stupid and pointless.
    Some in National are still finding their feet in a New Government.
    However their relaxed style is still more effective then the carefully structured and controlled interviews given by HC
    And the bland and sometimes hysterical utterances of Phil Goff.

    • Anita 5.1

      Yep, one of the many things srcewed up by the last Labour led government.

      And yep, one of the many things that National could have fixed rather than flailing about. Wilkinson could have dealt with this months ago and we wouldn’t be in this ridiculous position.

  6. Rex Widerstrom 6

    Nice subliminal messaging in the pic there, sprout.

    Indeed if they don’t improve their performance, they will be toast.

  7. torydog 7

    if after 7 months they are still finding their feet i’d suggest they need to be replaced by someone competent…..but, hey, the tories dont like competent, i mean look at their last 4 leaders!!!!!

    There seems to be a mass drugging of the population at the moment…or at least the ones who get polled are on something, as I will never understand how the nats can still be flying high………seriously strange!!!!!!

    • Anita 7.1

      I reckon that polls don’t swing until the next election is actually on the horizon. For most people if they’re rung while trying to eat dinner/watch a tv show/bath the children and asked who they’d vote for the answer will be same-as-last-time.

      Firstly, why would most people waste time thinking about it? Secondly, to swing so early is to admit to having been wrong, to swing at 2 years 6 months is to be a good democratic citizen paying attention.

    • Murray 7.2

      I guess people are so seriously relieved to have dumped that obscenity that is labour

  8. infused 8

    I must say, I will be no longer buying bread once this law comes in to effect. Be it Labour or National, this whole thing is retarded. Mass medicate the whole of New Zealand to save what, one or two people are year?

    Why not target the people at risk. Talk about a lazy way to fix a problem.

    I’ve been wanting to make my own bread for along time, this is a good excuse 🙂

    • Anita 8.1

      Targeting women who aren’t intending to become pregnant but do anyway is notoriously difficult.

      (Not that I support mass medication, but your solution to 10-15 babies born with spina bifida a year (plus about the same number of late terminations) is not actually a solution)

    • r0b 8.2

      Better stop drinking water too infused. It’s probably fluoridated.

      Oh – and mind out for the iodine in salt.

      • infused 8.2.1

        I don’t drink tap water or eat salt. Thanks for the concern though 😉 Water from Petone for the win.

        Despite what people think, you don’t need salt in food.

        • Maynard J 8.2.1.1

          If you make your own bread you will most likely end up doing it differently from mass production methods, so the natural folate will remain in your bread.

          This regulation merely replaced the folate artificially taken out during the processing of mass-baked bread.

          But hey, it will be folate, not folic acid. Let me know if you really notice the difference.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.3

      It’s not really a mass medication but a mass dietary supplement. We need folic acid in our food and we just aren’t getting enough. This seems like a reasonable way to do so. The other alternatives is to persuade everyone to change their diet or we could do nothing and keep getting stung by the extra costs brought about by vitamin deficiency.

      • Anita 8.3.1

        Draco T Bastard,

        We need folic acid in our food and we just aren’t getting enough. This seems like a reasonable way to do so.

        I’m getting enough. Why should the government require me to take a dietary supplement, let alone one that I don’t need?

        • ak 8.3.1.1

          I’m getting enough.

          Skite.

          Why should the government require me to…

          Compulsory crust consumption? Holy doughnuts ‘nita – the NACTORIs have always been more than happy to let people eat cake. (prefer sprouts meself: blogalicious)

        • Ari 8.3.1.2

          Let alone one that there is suspicion could actually be bad for you.

  9. felix 9

    I agree with Anita (and others), this whole approach is crazy. I’d also add that we probably don’t need to be encouraging the consumption of more highly refined flour products.

    r0b, iodine isn’t a compulsory addition to salt.

    infused, good luck with the breadmaking, it can be very satisfying and delicious. Don’t expect to save yourself any coin though, economies of scale and all that.

    • infused 9.1

      Oh I know… it looks more expensive. My grandad use to make bread when I was a kid. I always remember how yummy it was. I think that’s because he added beer to it. lol.

  10. BLiP 10

    Where’s the screaming indignation from the rabid right about freedom of choice in what we eat – or does that freedom apply only in relation to feeding coca-cola and pies to school children?

  11. Oscar 11

    What was missing from this and the TV1 news report was some balance and context.

    I always new there was a reason why I didn’t like silver beet it causes cancer!

  12. gobsmacked 12

    On ‘Breakfast’ today, Key was as feeble on this as Wilkinson yesterday.

    They’d better not add folic acid to fudge. Or waffles. Key would overdose.

  13. Oliver 13

    From what I read of your blog piece you’re criticising Wilkinson for failing to defend an indefensible decision made by a Labour Cabinet Minister.

  14. Daff 14

    the folic thing sounds like packing candies into water tight “condoms”.The funny thing is many smaller children have trouble opening them.

  15. Brian Barry 15

    If we accept this potion in our bread, what will they do next?

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