WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has clarified for the Independent Bakers Association questions about whether whole grain bread containing fruit, nuts or seeds may qualify for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children — the WIC Program.
According to the U.S.D.A., bakers may incorporate these inclusions in bread so long as whole grain is the primary ingredient by weight in all whole grain products. Other requirements are consistent with those for making the health claim for whole grains — "Whole grain food with a moderate fat content."
As such, the bread must contain 51% whole grains, meet regulator definitions of "low saturated fat" and "low cholesterol," bear quantitative trans fat labeling and contain no more than 6.5 grams of total fat per RACC (reference amount customarily consumed) and no more than half a gram of trans fat per RACC.
Prompting the interaction between the U.S.D.A. and the I.B.A. was a member’s cranberry apple and cinnamon raisin bread varieties that met the WIC whole grains rules but were questioned by representatives of a WIC program in a Midwestern state.
In particular, the I.B.A. said the state expressed concerns about whether bread with fruit should be allowed. The concern related to whether adding fruit could raise the sugar level above limits set for certain WIC products.
"Although that sugar requirement is limited to cereals and not whole grain items, the state inquiry demonstrated the need for clarification on allowable added items such as fruits as well as other items such as nuts and seeds," the I.B.A. said.