What is a cereal grain, officially?

by Laurie Gorton, Baking & Snack
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Cereal grains, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), may include amaranth, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, corn (including popcorn), millet, oats, quinoa, rice, rye, sorghum, teff, triticale, wheat and wild rice. The Whole Grains Council (WGC) fleshed out that list. It included whole cornmeal, oatmeal and both brown and colored rice. It also expanded wheat to include varieties such as spelt, emmer, farro, einkorn, Kamut, durum and forms such as bulgur, cracked wheat and wheatberries.

WGC noted that this list is not meant to be comprehensive but includes those grains most familiar to consumers. Other cereal grasses from the Poaceae (or Gramineous) family, such as canary seed, Job's tears, Montina, Timothy, fonio and so forth are also whole grains when consumed with all of their bran, germ and endosperm.

“Amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat do not belong to the Poaceae botanical family, but these pseudograins are normally included with true cereal grains because their nutritional profile, preparation and use are so similar,” the council observed. WGC, like AACC International and FDA do not consider oilseeds and legumes to be whole grains.

The March 2014 issue of Baking & Snack advises formulators how to “Explore a New World” through use of variety grains and their flours.
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