Folic acid now added to corn masa flour: FDA

June 17, 2016

(HealthDay)—Adding folic acid to corn masa flour could help reduce birth defects among Hispanic babies in the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

The FDA recently approved the addition of , a B vitamin, to corn masa flour, which is used in foods such as tortillas, tacos, tortilla chips and tamales.

"By adding folic acid to corn masa flour, we have the opportunity to impact a large segment of the U.S. population and protect parents and their children from the devastating that are linked to insufficient folic acid consumed by the mother before and during pregnancy," said Dr. Jonca Bull, director of the FDA's Office of Minority Health.

When consumed by pregnant women, folic acid is known to lower the risk of a baby being born with , which affect the brain, spine and spinal cord.

While folic acid has long been added to certain cereal grain products, many "Hispanic women don't benefit from the folic acid in cereal grain products because those products are not a mainstay of their regular diets—which often are corn masa-based," Bull explained in an agency news release.

That could be one reason why Hispanic women are more likely than other women in the United States to have babies with neural tube defects, the agency noted.

Cynthia Pellegrini is of public policy at the March of Dimes. "[The] FDA worked closely with us to design a study that garnered the information needed to establish the safety of this action," she said. "We're thrilled at the outcome and feel confident that it will address the disparities we've seen in the Latina community and will give even more babies a healthy start in life."

Women should start consuming 400 micrograms of folic acid a day at least one month before becoming pregnant and throughout pregnancy, the FDA says.

Easy ways to get enough folic acid include eating a bowl of an enriched breakfast cereal; eating other enriched cereal grain products; and taking a daily vitamin or multivitamin supplement that contains folic acid, according to the agency.

Explore further: Makers of corn masa flour can add folic acid

More information: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about folic acid.

Related Stories

Makers of corn masa flour can add folic acid

April 14, 2016
(HealthDay)—Makers of corn masa flour can voluntarily add up to 0.7 mg. of folic acid per pound of corn masa flour under a new approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

FDA delays decision on adding folic acid to corn masa

January 29, 2016
Federal regulators have delayed until April a decision on whether to allow folic acid to be added to corn-masa flour, a move experts say could help prevent birth defects like those seen in a deadly cluster in three Central ...

Fortifying corn masa flour with folic acid could prevent birth defects, March of Dimes says

June 16, 2011
Fortifying corn masa flour with the B vitamin folic acid could prevent more serious birth defects of the brain and spine in the Hispanic community, according to a March of Dimes commentary published in the American Journal ...

FDA to review fortifying corn flour with folic acid to prevent birth defects

November 14, 2015
The federal Food and Drug Administration has agreed to review a long-delayed petition to fortify corn masa flour with folic acid, a move advocates say is crucial to preventing devastating birth defects like those seen in ...

Folic acid saves 1,300 babies each year from serious birth defects of brain and spine

January 15, 2015
Fortifying grain foods with the B vitamin folic acid has saved about 1,300 babies every year from being born with serious birth defects of the brain and spine known as neural tube defects (NTDs), according to new data published ...

Adding folic acid to staple foods can prevent birth defects, but most countries don't do it

March 9, 2016
Imagine that scientists find an indisputable link between microcephaly and the Zika virus. Then imagine that they find a simple way to prevent it, but that the solution is not implemented.

Recommended for you

High-fat diet in pregnancy can cause mental health problems in offspring

July 21, 2017
A high-fat diet not only creates health problems for expectant mothers, but new research in an animal model suggests it alters the development of the brain and endocrine system of their offspring and has a long-term impact ...

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.