many of you have noticed odd paragraphs in the papers lately about the re introduction of the white loaf. You remember vaguely that doctors are always attacking the use of " white" flour from which much of the nutritive value of the wheat is extracted. Here are a few facts and opinions for the benefit of the busy housewife and the war worker who has no time to go into the matter. I hope this bit of research will help them to decide whether or not the return of the white loaf is a good pr a bad thing.
To begin with, they had a debate in the House of Lords. Lord Teviot began by asking why the extraction rate of wheat had been reduced below the 1942 standard, which was 85 per cent., and if Lord Herder. who is medical adviser to the Ministry of Food. had been consulted. Lord Addison remarked that it was:exceedingly profitable to millers to increase the percentage of offals taken out of wheat. White flour. nearly composed of starch, would absorb more water and the number of loaves produced from a quarter sack of flour could be raised from 92 or 96 to 102. The addition was water charged at twopence a pound. Lord Geddes also said it paid the miller to have people eating white bread because they had to eat so much more to get the feeling of nutrition which they had from eating brown bread. Every medical man would agree that the 85 per cent. extraction (the 1942 rate) bad made for health and resistance to disease.
Accusingly Lord Hankey said that the Government had been warned for years by their own experts, by the Medical Research Council and by international experts that ordinary white bread was extremely deficient in nutritional content. Successive Governments had neglected that warning and brought the nation to the fiPs1 stages of de generacy. Then a guinea-plg experiment•was suggested by Lord Bledisloe. who argued that millers produced what the public demanded Suggestion was that there should be an experiment on three adjoining villages--one fed on bread of 72 per cent. exeraction (this was the rate which prevailed before the war). one on bread of 80 per cent. extraction and one on bread of 85 per eerie extraction. (Any volunteers ?) Now, the wondering lay woman who can't reconcile the attitude of the doctors with what seems to be an antisocial act by the so-far benevolent Lord Wootton, may be asking: Why is the public suddenly being weaned off .he idea of the 85 per cent. wheat loaf on to one which the doctors and nutrition experts assert will cause rickets. anaemia andadelayed cures in cases of ulceration of the stomach ? The answer is that pigs and poultry need the vitamins 1 On this point the British Medical Journal leader observes (looking forward I presume, to the period of plenty): " Those who are better off have a fair chance of making good the deficiencies of wheat flour by, say, having eggs and bacon every morning fm breakfast : the wheat offal is re:urned to them through the medium of the hen and pig !" The writer adds that the poor in any ewe have an addiction to white flour in any shape or form. . Finally. let usi'lso behind the scenes with the financial editor of the Manchester Guardian. Discussing the situation of bread supplies for Europe, he nays: " The only danger of an exhaustion of world wheat stocks could aome from the use of wheat for feeding and industrial purposes. • A good deal of wheat is still being used lot animal feeding," and he foresees a rapidly increasing demand for feeding crams both in this country and on the Continent. Maize could come to the rescue, but although that is being produced in enormous quantities, notably by the Argentine nothing like enough of this can be exported because it is being used as fuel for houses and locoMotives in the absence of coal and oil ! So you see how involved it all is. Who ic to get the food—the hens, the tags, the fireplaces and steam engines of the Argentine—or you ?
* * * * THE chief Holy Week broadcast is
Bach's St. John Passion. This was first heard at St. Thomas's, Leipzig. With the composer himself at the cemhalo. The broadcast will be in two parts—morning and afternoon.