New definition for 'whole-grain' food

Monday, 14 August, 2017

A Europe-based partnership between cereal scientists from academia and industry, Healthgrain Forum, has defined whole-grain foods, and published the definition in Advances in Nutrition.

The Healthgrain Forum definition recommends that a food may be labelled as ‘whole grain’ if it contains at least 30% whole-grain ingredients in the overall product. In addition, the food must comply with other compositional criteria, namely that the whole grain content must exceed the refined grain ingredients on a dry weight basis and must not contain high levels of salt, sugar and fat as stipulated in national healthy nutritional guidelines.

The new definition provides greater clarity and standardises when a food can be labelled whole grain such as ‘whole-grain bread’ or ‘whole-grain pasta’, making it easier for consumers to identify whole-grain foods.

Previous definitions failed to account for the diversity of whole-grain products on the market and did not make any requirement for whole-grain foods to meet any healthy eating criteria. The new whole-grain food definition includes this to ensure that consumers know that they are making a healthier choice when choosing a whole-grain food.

The new paper on the wholegrain food definition is available for free download.

The 6th International Whole Grain Summit, taking place in Vienna on 13–15 November 2017, will be an important forum for a wide range of stakeholders to discuss the new definition and other key topics related to increasing whole-grain intake for better health.

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