Folic acid shines positive image on enriched grains

The presence of folic acid remains a strong promotable benefit for enriched grains, especially as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 draw near. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee in its report earlier this year kept enriched grains in the refined grains category and linked refined grains with health problems. A coalition of grain groups, including baking, milling, wheat, pasta and rice groups, argued that enriched grains should not be in the refined grains category.

Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D., a professor at Arizona State University and the leader of the Grain Foods Foundation’s Scientific Advisory board, spoke on behalf of the coalition in a public hearing in March.

He pointed to the fact that since the Food and Drug Administration in 1998 mandated folic acid fortification of enriched grains, the rate of neural tube defects in the United States has decreased by 38%. Besides folic acid, enriched grains also contain thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and iron.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture expect to release the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 later this year.