Enchiladas, tostadas, tacos – getting hungry yet? Grab a cerveza and read on.
The FDA has approved adding folic acid to corn-masa flour. Folic acid prevents birth defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly. The B vitamin has been added to wheat and rice flours for the last two decades. Corn masa was not included in the 1990s directive because it wasn’t as popular as it is now. Since adding folic acid to other grains in 1996, birth defect rates dropped by 36%.
Fortifying grains with folic acid has been very successful in promoting healthier pregnancies and preventing birth defects. Folic acid is also important for women who are thinking about becoming pregnant. Proper folic acid intake during pregnancy is proven to prevent terrible defects. In Washington state, at least 42 babies have been lost to anencephaly since 2010 at a rate higher than the national average.
Four years ago, the March of Dimes urged the FDA to add it to corn flour, a staple in Hispanic foods. The FDA’s recent decision will benefit the health of Hispanic women and reduce neural-tube defects. A quarter of all American babies are born to Hispanic mothers, who have 20% higher risk of defects than Caucasian women.
Studies conducted showed that the vitamin remained in stable state, even after tortillas and chips were baked or deep-fried. Gruma, the world’s largest producer of corn-masa flour, co-sponsored the original petition. They already add folic acid to their flour in other countries. They will begin adding it to U.S. products as soon as their manufacturing plants are reconfigured.
Aleccia, JoNel. “FDA to allow folic acid in corn masa to stop birth defects.” Health. The Seattle Times, 14 Apr 2016. Web. 17 Apr 2016.