W.F.C. to sponsor second ‘Wheat Safari’

by Eric Schroeder
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MANHATTAN, KAS. — Following a meeting earlier this month in Phoenix, the Wheat Foods Council has unveiled several initiatives and changes to help combat anti-wheat messages.

During 2014 the W.F.C. again will hold a “Wheat Safari,” this time in North Dakota. Scheduled for August, the event will focus on science and provide first-hand knowledge of how durum wheat is produced. More than 20 bloggers and columnists from across the United States gathered in Manhattan in June 2012 as part of the first-ever “Wheat Safari.”

At an event in Kansas, participants were introduced to the resources of the W.F.C., the Kansas Wheat Commission and the Home Baking Association, by participating in several hands-on activities, including a gluten lesson; a pretzel baking workshop at AIB International and a tour of the Hal Ross Flour Mill at Kansas State University, plus a tour of the Farm to Market Bread Co. in Kansas City.

“This is not the first time the Wheat Foods Council has had to set the record straight about grain foods,” said Cindy Falk, nutrition educator for Kansas Wheat and vice-chair of the W.F.C. “Fad diets have been around for a long time, and they don’t seem to be going away. A question I often get is ‘What is the Wheat Foods Council doing to combat the anti-wheat messages being spread by consumer books, media, Internet and word of mouth?’”

To help spread its message, the W.F.C. also this month selected three advisory board members to promote the consumption of wheat foods: Julie Miller Jones, Ph.D., professor emeritus of foods and nutrition at St. Catherine University; Brett Carver, Ph.D., wheat breeding and genetics professor at Oklahoma State University; and Glen Gaesser, Ph.D., professor and director of the Healthy Lifestyles Research Center at Arizona State University.

At the 2013 Food and Nutrition Convention and Expo, the W.F.C. interacted with an audience of more than 8,500 key influencers in the dietetic and nutrition profession. Sara Olsen, a wheat farmer from Colorado, and Dr. Carver were the featured experts available to answer questions and educate attendees.

Dr. Miller Jones reached more than 2 million people this year when she conducted a media tour to combat fad diets and was interviewed across the United States on television and radio stations. Her message “Busting fad diets” provided counter messages to the anti-wheat claims in the wheat-free cookbooks on the market.

“The Wheat Foods Council members support an ongoing pro-active force of pro-wheat messaging,” Ms. Falk said. “We have a good story to tell, and wheat farmers, millers, bakers, researchers, food professionals and others in the industry have to keep telling it. Science is in our favor.”
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