Lord Woolton, the Minister of Food, stated in the House of Lords, on March 11th, that “to reduce the tonnage used for the transport of wheat” the Government had decided to increase to 85 per cent. the ratio of flour from the wheat milled in this country; and that it will be illegal to sell, except under licence, any “white” bread from April 6th. In the discussion that followed, Lord Horder stated that he and his medical colleagues were satisfied that no other step concerning the nation's food was so calculated to raise the level of the nation's nutrition. He added that there was no evidence that 85 per cent. extraction flour is indigestible; and that where bread of any kind is permissible in diseases of the digestive system, it may be given with impunity. Moreover, Sir Ernest Graham Little, M.D., has rendered a great service to the public by his oft‐repeated and strong advocacy, in the House of Commons, of better bread than that which constitutes the “white loaf.” The unanimous verdict of those who are best qualified to express an opinion supports the conclusion that adequate nutrition is the prime requirement for the physical well‐being of mankind. Neglect this and all other hygienic props fail to support us. It is deplorable, therefore, that so little has been done hitherto in the sphere of national welfare to support the findings of science in favour of the more adequate loaf which has been so powerfully advocated for years. It is no exaggeration to state that the “white loaf” has been a real impediment to an improvement in the hygienic development of the growing child; as the “national loaf” (which will be superior to the “standard bread” of the last war) will not only reduce the tonnage for the transport of wheat, but will also greatly benefit the children, more especially those of the poorer section of the community with whom bread is the main food. Although from a standpoint of nutrition the “National” loaf falls short of the desirable “Wholemeal” loaf, it certainly represents a valuable step in the right direction. As the much impoverished wheat of the “white loaf” is a matter for considerable national concern, it is an anomaly that it should be permitted, seeing that similar impoverishments of natural foodstuffs have for long been punishable by law. For instance, prosecutions and fines for the watering of milk occupy pages of most issues of The British Food Journal. Why, then, should the serious reduction of the valuable mineral matter and vitamins of the wheat used for the wheaten loaf be suffered to continue? The general public do not readily accept guidance upon what they should eat, and it is unlikely that they will have displayed a concerted predilection for the “national loaf” by the time the war ends. But by then much will have been gained by the reduction of prejudice and the increased accommodation which even short phases of custom can confer. Therefore the war‐time expedient of a “national loaf” may very usefully contribute to the perpetuity of its advantages. If we are wise, propaganda to this end will be maintained meanwhile, and be made to develop in power and authority during the early clays of peace. If the Government and the Local Health Authorities are in default in impressing, and (if need be) imposing such a major interest to the nation, the passing of the “white loaf” will soon be followed by its return. Especially is it to be hoped that the Ministry of Health will then give greater support to the advocacy of a better loaf than hitherto. The British Food Journal has often given expression to the public need for an improved loaf, and if this is destined to become an accomplished fact it will partake of the nature of a crowning event to our modest efforts.
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