Small Food Businesses in California Waiting on Guidance on Folic Acid Regulation


A new bill proposed in California could force small businesses selling tortillas and other masa corn products to alter their recipes.

Assembly Bill 1830 would require corn masa flour and corn masa products to be fortified with folic acid. The goal of the bill is to provide important nutrients to Latina women who are or could become pregnant.

Currently, Latina women have the highest rate of children born with neural tube defects, which can occur in cases where not enough folic acid is consumed. Proponents of the bill say that including folic acid in food products that are popular among Latina women could improve outcomes. While prenatal vitamins do contain these important vitamins, supporters say the requirement would be especially beneficial for those who do not have the resources to afford expensive multivitamins, as well as those who are not intentionally trying to conceive.

Supporting infant health is a worthy goal. But some small businesses are concerned about the potential implications.

Yesenia Barrera, owner of Tamales Express in Santa Clarita recently told Spectrum News 1, “I would like to know the cost of course, and then secondly how it would affect our product. You know, we have a very strict recipe that we use, and so we would just have to see how it would play into our recipe.”

However, Barrera also said she understands the purpose behind the bill. As a mother of three children, she knows the importance of consuming folic acid and wants to see infant health improve within the community.

She said, “In our restaurant, it is a lot of Latino-based customers. So, of course, I want my babies, our babies, to be healthy.”

Overall, Barrera and other entrepreneurs who could be impacted by the bill are largely hoping for guidance from the state. She said she gets most of her information from the news and it would be helpful for the state to provide specifics about how to best meet the new requirements.

Image: Envato



Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.