Date: May 27, 1996

An item in the Notebook section of the April 29, 1996, issue of The Scientist (page 30) reported on a recent presentation by Godfrey Oakley, director of the division of birth defects and developmental disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, discussing folic acid taken by women of reproductive age. Oakley says the currently recommended 400 µg dose of folic acid per day is sufficient to prevent births of babies with spina bifida and neural tube defects. However, he adds, the Food and Drug Administration recently required that as of Jan. 1, 1998, grain products be fortified with 140 µg folic acid per 100 g grain. This requirement is insufficient, according to Oakley, who recommends that grain products be fortified at about 700 µg per 100 g of grain.

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