Whole Grain Stamp Approach Praised by IOM

BOSTON The Food and Drug Administration should take action to require labeling for the whole grain content of food. Thats one of eight key recommendations in an October 20th report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) a recommendation that clearly endorses what the Whole Grain Stamp has already been doing for nearly five years.

At a time when front of pack labeling is under close scrutiny, its clear that the Whole Grains Council chose a responsible, scientifically-grounded path with the Whole Grain Stamp,” said Cynthia Harriman, Director of Food and Nutrition Strategies for the non-profit Whole Grains Council and for Oldways, its parent organization.

The IOM report, titled School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children, goes on to say that products with 8 grams or more of whole grain content per serving should be considered legitimate whole grain products or whole grain-rich products, a new and useful definition used in the report. The 8 gram level is the same minimum amount of whole grain used by the Whole Grain Stamp program since January 2005, when the Stamp was launched as a consumer-friendly tool to help fulfill the just-released recommendations of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The IOM, the respected health arm of the National Academies of Science, wrote the new report at the request of USDA officials responsible for the National School Lunch Program. Recommendations in the report will be used by USDA to update school lunch requirements to include healthier choices. The IOM report specifies that at least half the grains served in schools should be whole grain-rich 8 grams or more of whole grain per serving and that manufacturers should clearly label grams of whole grain content now, rather than wait for the ponderous pace of regulatory action.

The Whole Grain Stamp program fills the bill, as a firmly-established industry standard already followed by 248 manufacturers, including most of Americas leading companies. Almost 3,100 products in 14 countries have been reviewed by the Whole Grains Council and certified to use the Whole Grain Stamp, which will appear more than a billion times this year on grocers shelves. Now, with the new IOM report, use of the Whole Grain Stamp is also expected to take off for school foodservice products.

About Oldways and The Whole Grains Council
Oldways is a non-profit consumer advocacy group changing the way people eat through positive and practical programs grounded in science and tradition. The Whole Grains Council (WGC) is an Oldways program working to increase consumption of whole grains for better health. The WGCs many initiatives help consumers to find whole grain foods and understand their health benefits; help manufacturers and restaurants to create delicious whole grain foods; and help the media to write accurate, compelling stories about whole grains. You can learn more about both at oldwayspt.org and at wholegrainscouncil.org

Source: Oldways Preservation Trust