Folic Acid Can Now be Added to Corn Masa Flour following FDA Decision
Following approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), food makers can now add folic acid to corn masa flour, which is often used in Latin American cooking.
Folate, or its synthetic form, folic acid, is a necessary vitamin that when taken by pregnant women helps to prevent neural tube defects in unborn children. These birth defects affect the brain, spine, and spinal cord. The inclusion of this vitamin in corn masa flour may help increase the folic acid intake in pregnant Latin American women.
Manufacturers can voluntarily add up to 0.7 milligrams of folic acid per pound of corn masa flour, which is consistent with levels of other enriched cereal grains.
Folic acid is an optional ingredient in certain cereals and infant formulas, but must be added to certain enriched grains and grain products like breads, rolls, noodles and pasta. The March of Dimes Foundation, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other organizations in 2012 submitted to the FDA a food additive petition to extend voluntary fortification to corn masa flour for women who use this flour as a diet staple.
Corn masa flour is made by cooking corn in alkali and then grinding it. It's a staple food for many Latin Americans and is used to make foods like tortillas, tortilla chips, tamales, taco shells, and corn chips.
In a release, FDA's Susan Mayne said that adding folic acid to enriched flour has been helpful in reducing the incidence of neural tube defects in the general population. "Our analysis shows that adding folic acid to corn masa flour will help increase the consumption of folic acid by women who consume this flour as a staple in their diet," she said.
The petitioners also believe that this increased consumption of folic acid will reduce the risk of births with neural tube defects among Latina women. The FDA's approval, however, is just based on data showing that adding folic acid is safe and not the possibility of reduced risk of birth defects.
Manufacturers can begin adding folic acid this week and are required to list the ingredient on the packaging label.
Toxic Chemicals in Fast Food Packages Can Seep Into Your Food
Counting calories is no longer the only worry consumers may have about fast food. Environmental group Silent Spring Institute has released a new study that claims that the greaseproof packaging holding some fast food products may contain possibly dangerous fluorinated chemicals that can seep into your food.
You Really Should be Cleaning Reusable Grocery Bags to Stay Healthy
Do you use reusable grocery bags? If you are like many consumers, chances are that you have taken advantage of these heavy duty bags to reduce plastic bag waste in landfills, increase the amount of groceries you can carry, or any combination of factors. But did you know that failing to clean these bags regularly can put your health at risk?
Consumer Tips: Food Safety Practices for When Your Power Goes Out
Any time your power goes out due to high winds, snow/ice, a severe thunderstorm, hurricane, flood, fire, or any other electrical failure, the safety of the food inside your refrigerator and freezer is immediately jeopardized. Knowing how to determine if food is safe and how to keep it safe will help you minimize the potential loss of food to spoilage and reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
Going Grocery Shopping? Save Money Using These Tips That Stores Don't Tell You About.
Bargain hunters already save money regularly by cutting coupons and shopping during sales. However, there are many other ways consumers can save money when shopping—ways that stores don't tell them about. Combining these shopping strategies with coupons and sales may help you save as much as possible!