We breathed a sigh of relief at the Chief Medical Officer’s recent intervention to stall the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA’s) proposal to fortify bread with folic acid.The move was triggered by a review in the British Journal of Nutrition. This found it was wrong of the FSA to assume folic acid would behave the same as the natural form of the B vitamin, folate.It turns out that unmetabolised folic acid appears in the body after eating just one slice of fortified bread and then accumulates as more is eaten. This is a huge concern, as many negative effects are associated with unmetabolised folic acid: cancer, mental decline in the elderly, more multiple births among women having fertility treatment (which have higher health risks), and reduced success of anti-folate drug treatment.These surely outweigh the tiny predicted reduction in neural tube defects (NTD) – 22-36 fewer NTD births each year, plus up to 110 fewer terminations – that was the sole objective of fortification.It is worrying how the FSA’s ’science-based’ proposal was actually based on assumptions. This seems to be a repeat of the situation with other vitamins, where natural and artificial nutrient sources were wrongly assumed to have the same effects.
Source: Paul UKPaul UK is eyeing national expansion by seeking out ‘like-minded’ franchise partners.Partners can choose between three store models – Café, Express and Kiosk – for service stations and transport hubs, town and city centres or suburban villages.The operation, which has a BRC accredited bakery production site, will offer a national supply chain, economies of scale and a flexible retail format to fit any location, the business said.Franchisees will be fully supported throughout the entire set-up process, it added, from training courses and help with recruitment, to marketing and PR.The models include:Café – suitable for breakfast, lunch or coffee, the 1,500 sq ft site would be situated in busy footfall locations in towns or shopping centresExpress – comprising coffee and grab & go products, it is positioned to fit in travel hubs and high footfall areas where quick service is essential. The 500-800 sq ft site features self-service, a small eat-in space and yellow brandingKiosk – offers a 500 sq ft ancillary unit to a main café unit. It will be situated in high footfall areas such as train stations, travel hubs and shopping malls. These can be designed to look like more permanent fixtures, pop-up venues or grab & go concepts, it added.“As we enter the franchise market, we will be looking for like-minded, experienced investors and operators who are just as passionate about baking and quality as we are,” said Mark Hilton, CEO of Paul UK.Franchise partners are encouraged to e-mail Paul UK with any queries, it added.“Whilst we continue to grow the brand in London, we have also identified numerous national opportunities outside of the capital, which will be enabled predominantly, although not exclusively, by working with franchise partners. We are currently determining priority cities, but if approached by the right investors outside of these areas, we are open to having dialogue with them.”