A.B.A. pleased with grains role in report

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the American Bakers Association, said that while the A.B.A. was “pleased” with the language in the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report issued June 15 addressing both enriched and whole grains as part of a healthy lifestyle, the discussion surrounding so-called refined grains “will lead to further consumer confusion.”

In an initial review of the report, Mr. MacKie said the A.B.A. noted confusing language regarding folic acid enrichment of whole grains. The report states, “Because whole grain foods are not always fortified with folic acid, individuals who consume mainly whole grains in their dietary patterns should ensure that some of these whole grains are fortified to achieve dietary folate recommendations.”

Under the current standards of identity, only enriched grains and cereals may be enriched with folic acid.

“It is critical that the report be clarified to avoid confusion by consumers,” Mr. MacKie said. “As the report correctly points out, enriched grains are the primary source of folic acid in Americans’ diets and have been shown to significantly reduce the incidence of specific types of neural tube defects and may have other health benefits.”

Lee Sanders, senior vice-president of government relations and public affairs at the A.B.A., added that the complex carbohydrates in bread and other grain-based foods provide essential fuel the body needs.

“A.B.A. will continue to serve as a resource to the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services to develop meaningful Dietary Guidelines for Americans that are based on sound science, are practical, and are understandable for the public,” Ms. Sanders said.

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