The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of folic acid fortification in corn masa flour on April 14, 2016. The approval allows manufacturers to voluntarily add up to 0.7 milligrams of folic acid per pound of corn masa flour, consistent with the levels of certain other enriched cereal grains.

Corn masa is used to make a variety of food products, including tortillas, tortilla chips, tamales, taco shells, and corn chips. Folic acid, a synthetic form of folate, is a B vitamin that when taken by a pregnant woman may help prevent birth defects.

Adding folic acid to corn masa will impact the nutritional profile and the ingredient listing of the products to which the masa is being added. AIB International’s food labeling services can help manufacturers update the necessary label components, like the nutrition and ingredient statement, to reflect these changes and meet FDA's and U.S. Department of Agriculture's food regulations. Additionally, AIB’s lab testing services can test food products to validate fortification levels.

“We know many companies use corn masa in their products and AIB International is here to help them successfully bring products to market that meet this voluntary fortification”, says Valerie Olson, director of Food Technical Services at AIB International. “We aim to simplify labeling efforts by providing guidance and support to food companies incorporating folic acid to appeal to those consumers seeking more folic acid in their diets.”