Canada and Mexico Promote Whole Grains
The Whole Grain Stamp is now being used in 36 countries, with the United States, Canada and Mexico as the top three users of this popular international symbol.
Two new advances this week, from our North American neighbors to the north and south, will contribute greatly to keeping the momentum going for more healthy whole grains.
Kudos to Canada and Mexico! Both countries have shown their dedication to the whole grain cause by finding new ways to educate their citizens about the importance of whole grains.
Canada: The Healthy Grains Institute
The Healthy Grains Institute’s mission is to inform and enhance Canadians’ knowledge and understanding of whole grains, how they contribute to our health and weight management, to dispel myths around whole grains such as wheat, oats and barley; and the gluten-free diet. Guided by an independent and multidisciplinary Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) consisting of recognized plant science and nutritional experts from across Canada, the Healthy Grains Institute is committed to providing Canadians with science-backed information on the benefits of whole grains as an important part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Here at the Whole Grains Council, of course, we do many of the same things. But we do them in English and a little bit of Spanish, and everything on this website is in both English and French. This is very cool, since we can link from our one lonely French page (about the Whole Grain Stamp in Canada) to the new site.
We welcome the Healthy Grains Institute to the neighborhood, and look forward to working with them in the years to come.
Mexico: New Dietary Guidelines Specify Whole Grains
Looking south, we also have good reason to celebrate. Mexico has just updated its national dietary guidelines, known as the Official Mexican Norm (Norma Oficial Mexicana or NOM) of Nutrition/Food Education. Previously the Official Mexican Norm for Nutrition was lukewarm in its support of whole grains, saying simply “Wholegrains should be recommended, highlighting their fiber content,” but in the new guidelines, a paragraph was included that contains a much more specific mandate for whole grains. It says,
“Include wholegrain cereals in each meal, combined with seeds of legumes.”
We heard this good news from two of our good friends in Mexico – Mary Carmen at Kellogg Mexico, and Carolina at Grupo Bimbo, representatives of two companies that have worked tirelessly over the past few years to create more whole grain products, to promote them with the whole grain stamp, and to meet with dietitians, doctors and the media to educate them about the health benefits of whole grains.
Oldways President Sara Baer-Sinnott was especially pleased to hear the news. When she visited Mexico City this fall, as the new Norm was being finalized, she found opportunities to make a strong case for the importance of including a whole grain recommendation in the Official Mexican Norm for Nutrition. Every voice counts – perhaps her passionate advocacy helped ensure the inclusion of that key sentence about whole grains. (Cynthia)