Code of Practice

New Zealand Association of Bakers (NZAB) and Private Label Partners’ Code of Practice for Voluntary Folic Acid Fortification of Bread    


The NZAB companies, through their Association, have agreed they will undertake to participate in a Code of Practice (CoP) developed in conjunction with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to use best endeavour to achieve a minimum percentage of the breads that they produce being fortified with folic acid for NZ consumers.

This CoP sets out this commitment and the steps involved in achieving this goal.

Percentage of breads fortified with folic acid

The aspirational goal over time, is for industry to work towards fortifying with folic acid a minimum of 25% and up to 50%, by volume, reported as production volume numbers, of packaged sliced loaf breads (including private label products) marketed and distributed in New Zealand, by NZAB members.  A minimum of 25% by volume will be fortified by the end of 2014.

This will require a proportion of both branded and private label breads to be fortified with folic acid. This is necessary to ensure that folic acid is widely distributed throughout the bread supply consumed by women of child bearing age.

Breads that can be fortified

  • Any bread which meets the definition set out in Standard 2.1.1 Cereals and Cereal Products of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code may be fortified with folic acid or L-methyltetrahydrofolate, calcium (L-MTHF):
    • “bread means the product made by baking a yeast-leavened dough prepared from one or more cereal flours or meals and water”

Addition of folic acid to bread

  • Bread can contain a maximum of 2.5 mg/kg (250 μg/100g) of folic acid. This is the maximum amount permitted in the New Zealand (Permitted Fortification of Bread with Folic Acid) Food Standard 2012.
  • A target level of 2.0 mg/kg (200 μg/100g) folic acid in the finished product should be used.

Industry commissioned bread audit

  • The Industry will commission an independent party outside of the member companies to audit breads throughout each year.
  • The audit will verify the level of folic acid in the range of breads and proportion of breads that have been fortified. Over the course of a year all bread formulations claiming folic acid addition, by manufacturer, will be analysed for folic acid. The breads will be sampled randomly and purchased from the market in both the North and South islands where applicable.   Folic acid levels will be reported.
  • The industry will provide an annual report to MPI on the results of audits. The report will;
    • include a comprehensive list of all the breads containing folic acid
    • include the proportion, by volume, reported as production volume of packaged loaf breads that contain folic acid
    • include a comprehensive list of all breads that have been tested and the test method used
    • include the results of tests, identifying the levels of folic acid found in breads
    • identify how the goal for fortifying  towards 50% of packaged breads in NZ, with folic acid, is being met.
  • To take into account the commercial sensitivity of information received when presenting information from audit reports to the public MPI and NZAB will agree the information to be released.
  • Summary information from audits will also be available from the BIRT website.
  • The auditor will provide individual feedback to the member companies on the results of product tests to enable businesses to meet the folic acid standard and meet the goals of this Code of Practice.
  • The Industry will work collaboratively with MPI to refine folic acid levels in bread to optimise intake as necessary.

Folic acid methods of analysis

  • Measurement of the folic acid content of bread should ensure that folic acid is the analyte measured for targeting and compliance purposes rather than total folate content.
  • Laboratories must use appropriate controls including certified reference materials in the analysis of folic acid to ensure adequate accuracy of results
  • Laboratories must conduct replicate analyses to ensure the results are precise
  • Laboratories must either be accredited to analyse folic acid in cereal foods, or participating in the National Measurement Institute’s Proficiency testing programme.

Label information about fortification

  • Packaged breads which must be labelled are defined as those produced for retail sale outside the manufacturing premises.
  • Where bread requires labelling, and when folic acid or L-MTHF is added, this information must be included in the ingredient list on the label.
  • Folate nutrition content claims can be made for bread containing folic acid or L-MTHF.
  • A folate health claim can be made for bread fortified with folic acid.

This Code of Practice has been signed by the following companies:

  •  Breadcraft (Wai) Ltd
  •  Foodstuffs Own Brands
  •  George Weston Foods (NZ) Ltd
  •  Goodman Fielder New Zealand Ltd
  •  Walter Findlay Ltd
  •  Yarrows (The Bakers) 2011 Ltd


March 2014