Monday, April 18, 2016


"Health advocates score a major victory with folic acid" PBS NewsHour 4/14/2016


SUMMARY:  The Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday that it would allow folic acid to be added to corn flour in order to prevent certain types of birth defects.  The decision was a major victory for health advocates around the nation, who credit the additive with preventing some 1,300 birth defects per year.  Judy Woodruff sits down with Dr. Jose Cordero of the University of Georgia for more.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  A major health announcement in the U.S.A Today.

The Food and Drug Administration said it will permit one of the B vitamins, folic acid, to be added to corn masa flour, used in making tortillas and other favorites of Hispanic households, this to help prevent neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida.

Folic acid has been in fortify wheat flour since 1996, and is credited with preventing some 1,300 birth defects a year.  Health advocates have long petitioned to include it in corn flour as well.

For more, Dr. Jose Cordero joins us.  He is professor at the University of Georgia, former director of the National Center on Birth Defects.  He is currently on the board of the March of Dimes, which is one of the groups that pressed for the change.

Dr. Cordero, thank you for being with us.

What’s your reaction to this announcement?

DR. JOSE CORDERO, University of Georgia:  Well, it was tremendous joy.

This is just a tremendous occasion, that, finally, after 10 years of asking for having folic acid included in corn masa flour, finally, it’s here.  And it is very important, because, right now, not only in Hispanic households, but we all in the country are eating more tortilla chips than we are eating potato chips.

So, it is an important source of having folic acid that could help us prevent some very serious birth defects like spina bifida.

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