In part two of our “Demystifying Label Terms” series, we’ll cover the term Whole Grain. Parts 3 and 4 will cover Gluten Free and Kosher.
Whole Grain: The Food and Drug Administration has defined whole grains as “cereal grains that consist of the intact, ground, cracked or flaked fruit of the grains whose principal components — the starchy endosperm, germ and bran — are present in the same relative proportions as they exist in the intact grain.” To use the term “whole grain” on a label, it must meet the above definition. While the term is not as strictly enforced as the term “organic”, it is regulated and is trustworthy when found on a label. However, terms such as “wheat bread”, “multigrain”, “100% wheat”, are often used in place of “whole grain” to confuse and mislead consumers into buying products that are not made with whole grains. Always check the ingredient statement to be sure the one of the first ingredients is indeed whole grain.
A useful tool developed by The Whole Grains Council is the Whole Grain Stamp (see above right). This stamp is appearing on more and more products. The whole grain stamp comes in two different forms- either “100% Whole Grain” or simply “Whole Grain”. Contrary to what you might think when seeing the “100% Whole Grain” stamp, this stamp simply means that all of the grain-derived ingredients in the product are whole grains. What this means is that your whole grain bread bearing the “100%” stamp will not contain things like wheat germ or oat bran- it will only contain whole grain ingredients like whole grain rye flour. It might still contain ingredients like sugar and yeast, but these are not grain-derived products. The “Whole Grain” stamp simply means that the product is a good source of whole grains, containing at least 8 grams of whole grains per serving. Products bearing this stamp may contain ingredients like oat bran and wheat germ.
At Bob’s Red Mill, we strive to bring you delicious whole grain products. As you know, we also make things that are good for you, but are not whole grains like dried beans and seeds. Heck, Flaxseed Meal is not considered to be a whole grain product and it’s one of the best foods you can add to your diet. We are working to add the stamp to all of our qualifying products, but if you find a great product that doesn’t bear the stamp, it doesn’t mean that it’s not whole grain or that it’s not good for you. Always read the ingredient list and, when in doubt, give our customer service team a call. They’re always happy to hear from you and love helping find answers to your questions.