Fortification of corn masa flour with folic acid in the United States.Am J Public Health. 2011 Aug; 101(8):1360-4.AJ
Food fortification is an effective public health tool for addressing micronutrient deficiencies. The mandatory fortification of enriched cereal grains (e.g., wheat flour) with folic acid, which began in the United States in 1998, is an example of a successful intervention that significantly reduced the rate of neural tube defects (NTDs). However, despite the drop in NTD rates across all racial/ethnic groups after fortification, Hispanics continue to have the highest rates of this condition. One possible way to reduce this disparity is to fortify corn masa flour to increase the overall intake of folic acid in Hispanic women. We present the available evidence in favor of this approach, address possible safety issues, and outline next steps in the fortification of corn masa flour with folic acid in the United States.