In welcome move, FDA approves folic acid fortification of corn masa flour

In Welcome Move, FDA Approves Folic Acid Fortification of Corn Masa Flour

Statement of CSPI Nutrition Director Bonnie Liebman

The Food and Drug Administration’s long-sought decision to allow manufacturers to begin adding safe amounts of folic acid to corn masa flour is an important nutritional advance for women and children. White flour and some cereals have been fortified with folic acid since 1998, and this is widely credited for preventing roughly 1,000 neural tube birth defects each year. Similarly, fortification of corn masa flour with folic acid will address the risk of such avoidable defects among women of Hispanic heritage, for whom corn flour and tortillas are major staples, and therefore should help reduce the incidence of neural tube birth defects in their children. While FDA should have acted more expeditiously in light of the petition filed in 2012 by the March of Dimes, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and others, its action today is a welcome and important step for public health.