The proposal to fortify foods with folate in New Zealand is in a bid to reduce neural tube defects in newborns.
Now, American researchers have shown folate-fortified foods may also reduce the number of the most common type of kidney cancer and a type of brain tumor in children. The voluntary fortification of one-third of our bread brands, and a corresponding increase in breakfast cereals fortified with folic acid, has already seen a lift in the percentage of women of childbearing age with optimal serum folate levels from 26 per cent in 2008/09 to 59 per cent in 2011. Researchers are keen that mandatory fortification of bread is put in place to lift this level nearer to 100 per cent.
Pediatrics May 2012 Science Media Centre briefing May 2012