Folic Acid Fortification: A Major Public Health Achievement

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Consumption of U.S.-Grown Rice Helps Achieve Goal of Healthier Babies

The role of folic acid fortification of grains in reducing neural tube birth defects is one of 10 great public health achievements of the past decade in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Mandatory folic acid fortification of rice and other grain products labeled as enriched in the United States beginning in 1998, contributed to a 36 percent reduction in neural tube defects (NTD) and prevented an estimated 10,000 NTD-affected pregnancies in the past decade, resulting in a savings of $4.7 billion in direct costs, according to the May 20 issue of CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

USA Rice Federation educates health professionals, the media and consumers about enriched, fortified rice as a good source of folic acid. An advertorial will appear in the spring issue of You and Your Family magazine featuring Dr. Keith Ayoob, clinical professor of pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and member of USA Rice's Scientific Advisory Panel. Ayoob recommends that pregnant women eat rice for its folic acid and nutrition benefits.

The magazine, endorsed by the American Medical Women's Association, is delivered to 31,000 obstetrician offices in bulk supply for patients to take home. For more information about rice, including folic acid backgrounders, visit

About the USA Rice Federation
About 85 percent of the rice consumed in the U.S. is grown here. U.S. rice farmers produce an abundance of short-, medium-, and long-grain rice, as well as organic and specialty rices such as jasmine, basmati and Arborio, in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas, according to the highest-quality and wholesomeness standards. Sustainably grown U.S. rice helps to reduce your food miles because it is a domestically grown product. Look for the “Grown in the USA” logo on packages of 100-percent U.S.-grown rice. The USA Rice Federation is the global advocate for all segments of the U.S. rice industry with a mission to promote and protect the interests of producers, millers, merchants and allied businesses. Be sure to visit, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.


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Anne Banville
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