The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved folic acid fortification of corn masa flour in response to a 2012 petition from the March of Dimes Foundation, National Council of La Raza and other groups. FDA’s action allows manufacturers to voluntarily add up to 0.7 milligrams of folic acid per pound of corn masa flour.

Used in tortillas, tamales and other foods, corn masa flour is a dietary staple for many people of Mexican and Central American descent, and the petitioners sought the voluntary fortification to increase the folic acid intake for U.S. women of childbearing age who regularly consume such products. Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate, a B vitamin linked to the decreased incidence of neural tube defects. See Federal Register, April 15, 2016.