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  /  News   /  California tortilla bill poses threat to small businesses

California tortilla bill poses threat to small businesses

(NewsNation) — A new California state bill, if passed, would mandate corn masa flour makers to add folic acid to their products.

While the bill, proposed by Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula, is promoted as a public health measure, the costs could disproportionately impact small businesses.

Assembly Bill 1830 would require manufacturers to add “0.7 milligrams of folic acid per pound of corn masa flour” to their products, such as tortillas, tamales and taco shells by January 2026.


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The California State Assembly Committee on Health passed the bill in March and the Appropriations Committee approved the bill in April. It’s not headed to the full Assembly for a vote. 

The legislation will likely significantly impact small businesses and entrepreneurs. For instance, small-batch tortilla makers, like La Princesita, are concerned, the Los Angeles Times reported. The maker used a method only involving corn masa, water, and lime, a culinary heritage that dates back millennia, per the outlet.

Since 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has required folic acid fortification in enriched grain products like pasta and bread. It has led to a 35% reduction in neural tube defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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However, data from the California Department of Public Health shows only 28% of Latinas reported taking folic acid before pregnancy, compared to 46% of white women.

Mandatory fortification of masa could increase folic acid intake by up to 20% among Mexican Americans, a 2009 CDC study suggested.