New voluntary standard for Australian whole grain ingredient claims
A new voluntary code of practice for whole grain ingredient content claims has been launched by industry body the Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council (GLNC). Consumers will begin to see the standardised claims on food products in 2014.
According to the GLNC, the new Code of Practice for Whole Grain Ingredient Content Claims for the first time sets a standard for labelling of whole grain foods, which can vary widely in whole grain content.
“GLNC consumption study data from 2009 and 2011 confirms that Australians aren’t eating enough whole grain foods,” said Georgie Aley, GLNC Managing Director. “This may be attributed in part to mixed messages about whole grains, which can create confusion among consumers,” she said.
“There is currently no regulation for the use of whole grain ingredient content claims to describe the different amount of whole grain in different foods. This standard, which is being welcomed by industry, will help consumers to meet the recommended amount of whole grain for a day,” Ms Aley said.
Whole grain ingredient content claim levels
The GLNC said the whole grain ingredient content claim within the new Code is based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines, which were revised in February 2013, and GLNC whole grain Daily Target Intake of 48g per day, which was established in 2006 and adopted across the food industry.
According to the GLNC, the whole grain ingredient content claim was developed through consultation with the public health and nutrition research community, as well as the food industry, and was “based on scientific rationale”.
Whole grain ingredient content claim levels covered by the new Code include:
- Less than 8g whole grain: No whole grain ingredient content claim permitted
- Greater than or equal to 8g whole grain: “Contains whole grain”
- Greater than or equal to 16g whole grain: “High in whole grain”
- Greater than or equal to 24 g whole grain: “Very high in whole grain”
Up to international standards
The GLNC said the new Code is in line with international standards approved by the American Assocation of Cereal Chemists (AACC) International in May 2013.
“The Australian content claim levels are also in line with international labelling and characterisation of whole grain foods, including the recently approved characterization by the American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC) International of 8 grams of whole grain per 30 grams of product,” Ms Aley said.
Benefits for food manufacturers
The GLNC said the new Code also enables manufacturers’ claims relating to whole grains, high fibre grains or legume foods to be certified, and permits registered users to include GLNC’s certification statement and logo on packaging.
“The additional certification will highlight healthier product choices for consumers within the grains and legumes category, and bring greater understanding about the value of enjoying grain foods three to four times a day, and legumes two to three times a week,” Ms Aley said.
“The key benefits for industry are in demonstrating to consumers that their whole grain product adheres to the GLNC Code of Practice, as well as leveraging the third party certification of the GLNC – a health promotion charity,” Ms Aley said.
The Code of Practice is available at www.glnc.org.au.