USDA Approves Expanded Use
of Whole Grain Stamp

BOSTON, August 21, 2006 – American consumers just received a big healthy-eating boost from their government when the Agriculture Department expanded the list of foods eligible to use the popular Whole Grain Stamps.

Thanks to this action, consumers will soon find it easier to spot pizzas, pot pies, pocket sandwiches and other foods made with a significant amount of whole grain. Labels on products like these, which contain meat and poultry in addition to grains, must be pre-approved by USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS).

“With this decision, FSIS has taken another important step to support the Dietary Guidelines and MyPyramid,” said K. Dun Gifford, President of Oldways. “These federal food and eating guides recommend we all eat three or more servings of whole grains each day, but Americans rushing up and down the grocery aisles need the help of these eye-catching Whole Grain Stamps to quickly locate whole grain foods.”

The Whole Grain Stamp, a bright black-and-gold symbol developed by Oldways and the Whole Grains Council, is currently displayed on nearly 800 food products. To qualify for the Stamps, each serving of a product must contain at least one-half a serving of whole grains.

Each Whole Grain Stamp includes information on the product’s whole grain content in grams, prominently displayed. The minimum Stamp amount is 8 grams of whole grains, equal to half a MyPyramid minimum serving, but Stamp values can increase to 30g, 40g or even more. “Consumers who choose Whole Grain Stamp products can quickly and confidently be assured of getting the three servings or more of whole grains they need daily,” said Cynthia Harriman, Director of Food & Nutrition Strategies for Oldways and the Whole Grains Council.

The Stamp, introduced in early 2005 and widely used on breads, cereals, crackers, granola bars and a wide range of other foods, had not previously been approved for use on products containing meat and poultry. However, the Whole Grains Council launched its new Phase II enhanced Stamp design in late June of 2006, adding more information for consumers. Just six weeks later, FSIS approved its use.

Mandatory nutrition labeling of most foods has been regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), since the National Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) became effective in 1993. Foods containing meat, poultry and eggs, however, have been regulated by USDA for decades longer, beginning with the Poultry Products Inspection Act of 1957. FSIS policies and programs provide labeling guidance and inspection services to protect consumers from misbranded and adulterated meat, poultry, and egg products, and to ensure that all labels are truthful and not misleading.

Oldways is the widely-respected nonprofit “food issues think tank” praised for translating the complex details of nutrition science into the familiar language of food. Best known for developing the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid, Oldways develops and organizes a wide variety of programs and materials about healthy, traditional and sustainable food choices for consumers, scientists, the food industry, health professionals, chefs, journalists and policy makers. The Whole Grains Council is a consortium of industry, scientists and chefs founded by Oldways that works to increase consumption of whole grains for better health. You can learn more about both at and


Media: For more information contact:

Courtney Davis
Media Manager, Oldways
(617) 896-4888

Oldways Preservation Trust
266 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02116
Tel (617) 421-5500