FSIS and the Whole Grain Stamp
Are you marketing products containing meat and poultry? USDA/FSIS now allows the Whole Grain Stamp on products whose packaging is subject to FSIS pre-approval – like pepperoni pizzas, chicken pot pies and pocket sandwiches made with whole grains.
These products must use a slightly different graphic, and meet a few additional requirements. Details are outlined below and in the FSIS-specific Stamp Usage Guide.
FSIS graphics are not available on the website. Contact Harley Songin (617-896-4832) and we'll send you a CD containing all the FSIS Stamp graphics.
The images and words used in labeling and promoting foods containing meat and poultry must be approved by the FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service) of the USDA (US Department of Agriculture). The Whole Grain Stamp program, when used in conjunction with products subject to FSIS approval, will follow these guidelines, agreed upon by FSIS and the Whole Grains Council:
There will be two Stamps, a Basic Stamp and a 100% Stamp, as shown here. The graphics shown illustrate the minimum level of whole grain content for each Stamp (8g and 16g) as well as examples of other numbers. In actual use, each Stamp will show a specific number that reflects the actual gram amount of whole grain ingredients, by dry weight, in a labeled serving of the product.
2) Basic Stamp: Qualifying products
To use the Basic Whole Grain Stamp, products must contain at least 8g of whole grain ingredients per labeled serving and per RACC. At least 51% of the grains in the product must be whole grains.
3) 100% Stamp: Qualifying products
To use the 100% Whole Grain Stamp, products must contain at least 16g of whole grain ingredients per labeled serving and per RACC. 100% of the grains in the product must be whole grains. As this rules out any addition of grain-based starchy release agents or thickeners, vital wheat gluten, bran toppings, etc. that are not 100% whole grain, it is expected that few if any FSIS products will qualify for the 100% Whole Grain Stamp.
4) Qualifying Ingredients
To count as a whole grain, ingredients must include the bran, germ and endosperm of the grain, in the same proportions as when the grain was growing in the field. Legumes, nuts and oilseeds are not considered whole grains.
5) FSIS Regulations
Any FSIS labeling that includes a whole grain claim must meet all requirements of the FSIS Interim Policy Guide on “Use of the USDA MyPyramid Reference on Meat and Poulty Labeling and Whole Grain Claims” issued October 14, 2005 and available on the FSIS website at this address:
The Whole Grains Council wishes to remind its members of their responsibility to follow all FSIS labeling regulations and guidelines, and especially that:
- FSIS limits certain claims (such as “healthy”) and does not allow implied claims (such as contains, provides, more, etc.).
- FSIS regulation and guidelines pertain not only to packaging labels but also to promotional materials such as brochures, websites and advertisements.
- All labels bearing the Whole Grain Stamp will need to be submitted to FSIS for review and approval prior to usage.
To avoid any misrepresentation, the WGC does not advise its members on specifics of FSIS regulations, but wishes simply to remind them of the need to work closely with FSIS.
The Whole Grains Council, August 3, 2006.