NETHERLANDS – Corbion, a leading food ingredient expert based in the Netherlands, is collaborating with manufacturers to introduce folic acid-fortified corn tortillas, to address the prevalence of neural tube defects among infants. 

Folic acid, known for its benefits to expectant mothers and their babies, plays a crucial role in reducing neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

Spina bifida is a condition in which the neural tube, a layer of cells that ultimately develops into the brain and spinal cord, fails to close completely during the first few weeks of embryonic development, and it affects an estimated 1 in 2,500 newborns worldwide.

Scott Bieker, VP of milling and bakery at Corbion, highlights the significance of enriching corn tortillas with folic acid as an opportunity to enhance nutrition and potentially provide life-changing benefits to consumers. 

Corbion’s Nutrivan solutions and fortification expertise are pivotal in bridging the folic acid gap and empowering manufacturers to deliver greater value to their consumers.

A 2023 report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), titled “Failure to fortify,” underscores the importance of fortifying corn masa flour, the main ingredient in staple foods like corn tortillas, tamales, and empanadas. 

Despite the FDA’s approval for folic acid fortification in corn masa flour since 2016, only 14% of corn masa flour products in the US contain folic acid, with no corn tortilla products fortified.

The report highlights the disparity in neural tube defect rates among different communities in the US, attributing the higher incidence among Latino communities to lower levels of folic acid fortification in corn masa flour. 

The introduction of folic acid-fortified corn tortillas is seen as a critical step in addressing this disparity and improving public health outcomes.

Abby Ceule, senior business director of functional systems at Corbion, emphasizes the company’s commitment to positively impacting public health and enhancing the value of customers’ products in consumers’ lives. 

“At Corbion, we’re intent on finding ways to preserve what matters, and we believe that positively impacting public health is a way to preserve what matters while increasing the value of our customers’ products in consumers’ lives,” Ceule commented. 

By offering a solution that can make a real difference, Corbion aims to contribute to improved health outcomes for communities worldwide.

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