As part of the NACDS Foundation’s collaboration with the March of Dimes on issues involving maternal and neonatal health, the Foundation is working to raise the awareness about ways to use fortified corn masa flour as a strategy to help reduce birth defects.
Studies funded by the March of Dimes and its partners have convinced the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow the voluntary inclusion of folic acid—an essential B vitamin—in corn masa flour to help prevent birth defects in the Hispanic community. A lack of folic acid in the diet during pregnancy is associated with defects of the brain and spine, known as neural tube defects (NTDs). Significantly, since the mandatory fortification of folic acid in wheat flour over the past 20 years, NTDs have dropped by 35 percent nationwide.
In the Hispanic community, however, NTD rates remain high, presumably because more corn masa flour is consumed than fortified wheat flour. With the help of manufacturers and retailers of fortified corn masa flour, the March of Dimes hopes that birth defects will drop even further in the years ahead.
As part of this awareness initiative, the Foundation wanted to reference the March of Dimes flyer on the fortification of corn masa flour with folic acid for your information in case you would like to share it within your company and to other interested stakeholders.