January 09, 2013

NAMA pays tribute to National Birth Defect Prevention Month and 15 years of folic acid fortification

The North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) pays tribute to National Birth Defect Prevention Month. This year marks the 15th anniversary of grain millers fortifying grains with folic acid to help prevent neural tube birth defects in the United States. This week is folic acid awareness week. Folic acid consumption is critical for the prevention of neural tube birth defects, which affect the brain and spinal cord.

Enriched grains, such as white bread, tortillas, cereal, and pasta, are the number-one source of folic acid in the diets of most Americans. “Millers are proud of the role they have played in reducing neural tube defects in the U.S. by fortifying their products with folic acid,” said Mary Waters, NAMA president. “National Birth Defect Prevention Month and the 15th anniversary of folic acid fortification is an opportunity for millers to acknowledge their link between grain and goodness,” she said.

Since the FDA required fortification of enriched grains with folic acid in 1998, the number of babies born in the U.S. with neural-tube birth defects has declined by approximately one-third.

The CDC acknowledges enriched grains, rather than supplements, as responsible for lowering the rate of neural tube birth defects by approximately one-third in the U.S.

The CDC recently named folic acid fortification of enriched grains as one of the top 10 public health achievements of the first decade of the 21st century.

'The Bread Trail', a broadcast public service announcement created by NAMA’s consumer education partner, the Grain Foods Foundation, and the Spina Bifida Association, celebrates the achievements over the last decade and a half. You can view the video on YouTube here

NAMA is the trade association of the wheat, corn, oat, and rye milling industries. Member companies operate mills in 38 states and Canada, representing more than 90 percent of total industry production capacity.

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English: Bread from India
English: Bread from India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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