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Confusion persists in the case of whole grains

A whole grain can be defined as any cereal grain containing all its component parts intact including its outer bran layer. It could have been flaked, rolled, cracked, ground or turned into a quick-cook grain, but it’s still whole so long as it is entire. //

The Whole Grains Council and the Oldways Preservation Trust came out with a stamp to make it easy for the public to identify a product as a whole grain. A '100 % Excellent Source' stamp signified a full serving of whole grains without any refined grains included.

But the Food and Drug Administration said that the definition may not hold true in the case of whole grain but may be applied to specific nutrients. K. Dun Gifford, president of Boston-based Oldways Preservation Trust created the black-and-gold Whole Grains Council stamps. He said that it was a simple description to help consumers t identify the correct whole grain rather than be astrayed by the advertisements.

But the Whole Grains Council and Oldways received a letter from the FDA telling that the stamp could be misbranded under various Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. It said at a press conference that it does not take any legal responsibilities of whether the brands carrying the stamp are truthful and not misleading. The FDA has not so far asked companies to change their labels.

The FDA said that it was working with the USDA to ensure consistency on whole grain policies. It launched a 60-day comment period for further consideration of consumer education programs aimed at helping consumers easily identify genuine whole grain products. It sanctioned the definition of whole grains developed by the Whole Grains Council, Oldways and the American Association of Cereal Chemists. It is said that whole grains cuts the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.


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