WASHINGTON — Bimbo Bakeries USA, in collaboration with The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), is changing the label on its Sara Lee White Made With Whole Grain Bread, Thomas’ Plain Made With Whole Grain Bagels, and Thomas’ Made With Whole Grain English Muffins to provide additional information quantifying the products’ whole grain content.
On the front package of the labels, the products now will state the percentage of their grains that are whole grains. These percentages are: Sara Lee White Made With Whole Grain Bread (32%), Thomas’ Plain Made With Whole Grain Bagels (25%), and Thomas’ Made With Whole Grain English Muffins (29%).
In addition, the CSPI said BBU has agreed to make the “made with” in the claim “made with whole grain” more prominent (i.e., at least 75% as large as the words “whole grain”).
“CSPI believes that simply stating a product is made with whole grains, or even listing the number of grams of whole grain in the product, is not enough for consumers to build a diet that meets the USDA’s 50% whole grain recommendation,” said Lisa Mankofsky litigation director at CSPI. “However, by providing the percentage of whole grain content, Sara Lee and Thomas’ will help consumers make informed decisions about the grains they consume and enable them to build a diet that meets the 50% whole grain recommendation.”
The CSPI has been pushing for other manufacturers of products containing some whole grain to make their labels more informative for consumers.
In late January, the CSPI said Flowers Foods, Inc., Thomasville, Ga., would be changing the label on its Wonder White Made with Whole Grain bread to provide additional information quantifying the product’s whole grain content.
On the front of the package for Wonder White Made with Whole Grain, the word “White” is now more prominent than the words “Whole Grain.” In addition, the labeling will continue to state that the bread offers 8 grams of whole grains per serving, but now also calls out that 34% of the grains per serving are whole grains.
Meanwhile, on the back of the package the bread includes a note that Wonder 100% Whole Grain bread is a 100% whole grain alternative with 26 grams of whole grains per serving.
The recently published 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend Americans consume half of their grains from whole grain sources and the remainder from enriched grains. The Dietary Guidelines recognize whole grains are “one of the three food groups that are fundamental constituents of a healthy dietary pattern.”
The Dietary Guidelines also maintain the existing recommendation for the average healthy American adult to consume six 1-oz servings of grain foods daily, with half of those servings coming from whole grains, and for the first time, the Dietary Guidelines include recommendations for birth to 2 years.
In order for consumers to make informed decisions about the grains they consume, the CSPI said it believes consumers should know the percentage of whole grain content in the grain foods they consume. Simply stating a product is made with whole grains is not enough for consumers to follow recommendations, the CSPI said.