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Here are answers to the questions manufacturers ask us most often about the Whole Grain Stamp. Click on any question, to see the answer.
If you have more questions about the Whole Grain Stamp or would like to join the Whole Grains Council in order to use the Stamp on your products, please contact Caroline Sluyter at 617-896-4832 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can my company join the Whole Grains Council?
Membership in the WGC is open to all companies big and small, worldwide, who would like to support increased consumption of whole grains, and who demonstrate their support by joining the WGC and participating in our activities. Although most members join to use the Whole Grain Stamp on qualifying and aproved products, there are many other beneﬁts to being a member of the WGC. Our work to promote whole grains in the media, for instance, beneﬁts both consumers and companies making whole grain products. Information about annual dues and beneﬁts, along with a link to our member application, can be found on this page.
Why is the Whole Grain Stamp so essential?
Governments around the world are increasingly recommending that people eat three or more servings of whole grains per day. But these same governments usually oﬀer no oﬃcial way for consumers to easily ﬁnd whole grains.
The eye-catching black and gold Whole Grain Stamp makes ﬁnding whole grains simple. Each “Stamped” product guarantees consumers at least half a serving of whole grains. The Stamp makes it easy to get the recommended three servings or more of whole grains each day: Eating three whole grain food products labeled “100% Whole Grain” does the trick – or six products bearing ANY Whole Grain Stamp.
How does the Stamp help consumers better than existing package labels?
Consumers are often skeptical of sales copy on packages and too rushed to read the ﬁne print of the nutrition facts panel and ingredients list — which in any event do not give clear guidance on whole grain content. The distinctive gold and black Whole Grain Stamp is identiﬁable at a glance and oﬀers a consistent, trustworthy beacon to consumers across brands. In fact our 2015 Whole Grain Consumer Insights Survey showed that 79% of consumers trust the Stamp to be accurate.
What types of products can use the Stamp? Do some foods qualify more easily than others?
All sorts of products can use the Stamp — bread, cereal, cake, cookies, crackers, granola, soups, stuﬃng, pie crusts, tortillas, chips, energy bars, pretzels, popcorn, pasta, ﬂour, bagles, veggie burgers, mixes, wraps and more — as long as they contain at least half a serving — 8 grams — of whole grain per labeled serving. Check out the categories on our Stamped Products lists.
Our Stamp program oﬀers a “level playing ﬁeld,” without favoring one food category over another – as witnessed by the diverse range of products that qualify to use the Stamp. (This is in contrast to the US FDA’s Whole Grain Health Claim, which is diﬃcult for moist foods like bread to qualify for.)
What kinds of grains qualify as WHOLE grains?
All grains start out as whole grains. If, after processing, they retain all three parts of the original grain — the germ, the bran and the endosperm — in their original proportions, they still qualify as whole grains. More…
All of the following qualify, when all of their bran, germ and endosperm are used: Amaranth, Barley, Brown and Colored Rice, Buckwheat, Bulgur, Corn and Whole Cornmeal, Emmer, Farro, Kamut® grain, Millet, Oatmeal and Whole Oats, Popcorn, Quinoa, Sorghum, Spelt, Teﬀ, Triticale, Whole Rye, Whole or Cracked Wheat, Wheatberries, and Wild Rice. More…
What about ﬂax and soy? Do they count as whole grain?
No. From a regulatory, nutritional and botanical point of view seeds (like ﬂax, sesame, sunﬂower and poppy), nuts and legumes – while healthy foods in their own right – are not considered by either the Whole Grains Council or the FDA to be whole grains.
How do companies qualify to use the Whole Grain Stamp? What are the criteria for the 100%, 50%+ and Basic Stamps?
Companies follow these steps:
They check their formulations to see which products are eligible to use the Stamp. See complete rules in our Stamp Usage Guides.
The criteria for the three diﬀerent Stamps are:
100% Stamp: All of the grain must be whole grain*; minimum of 16g of whole grain per serving.
50%+ Stamp: At least 50% of the grain must be whole grain**; minimum of 8g of whole grain per serving.
BASIC Stamp: A mix of whole and reﬁned grain, not reaching the 50% level; minimum of 8g of whole grain per serving.
* In Canada, the 100% Stamp is limited to products where all the ingredients are whole grains – so only a sack of brown rice, a bag of whole grain ﬂour or other similar products would qualify for the 100% Stamp.
** In Canada, the 50%+ Stamp is limited to products where at least half the product (by weight) is whole grain. FSIS does not allow the 50%+ Stamp to be used on products containing meat and poultry.
They join the Whole Grains Council, and sign an agreement to follow all the rules of the Whole Grain Stamp program, as outlined in our Stamp Usage Guides. Information about annual dues and beneﬁts, along with a link to our member application, are on this page.
They ﬁll out an online Product Registration Form (PRF) telling us about each product on which they’d like to use the Stamp. In just 1-2 weeks, we review their products and send them an email approving or denying their use of the Stamp for each product.
They download high-resolution vector graphic ﬁles from the password-protected Member section of our website, and move forward with adding the Stamp to packaging of their qualifying products.
What do you mean by “check your formulation?” Be more speciﬁc.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re making muﬃns. The formulation includes
1000g of whole wheat ﬂour
800g of whole sorghum ﬂour
200g of whole quinoa
500g of ﬂaxseed
300g of enriched wheat ﬂour
First, check our deﬁnition of whole grains on the WGC website. The whole wheat, sorghum and quinoa count as whole grains, but the ﬂaxseed does not.
So the formulation has 2300g of total grain, including 2000g of whole grain ingredients (1000+800+200) and 300g of reﬁned grain. The formulation produces 200 muﬃns, so each muﬃn contains 11.5g of total grain (2300 ÷ 200), and 10g of wholegrain ingredients (2000 ÷ 200).
The muﬃns would qualify for the 50%+ Whole Grain Stamp, since 86.96% of the grain is whole grain and they contain at least 8g of whole grain ingredients. They would NOT qualify for the 100% Whole Grain Stamp, because the enriched ﬂour is not a whole grain. We would approve this product for the 50%+ Stamp, with a “denomination” of 10g.
More information for Stamp usage can be found in our Stamp Usage Guides,
which you can download from our How To Use the Stamp page.
How long does it take from the time we join to the time we can use the Whole Grain Stamp?
The process is relatively quick and depends largely on you. The steps are:
Visit the Join the Whole Grains Council page of our website and ﬁll out a membership application.
We will review your application and send you an invoice by return email, usually within 1-2 business days.
Once we have received your ﬁrst year’s dues, we will send you the Stamp Agreement Form to sign, attesting that you will observe all the rules and standards of the Stamp program.
Once we receive the signed Stamp Agreement, your membership will be complete. You will receive an email with a temporary link to ﬁnish setting up your online account to begin registering products.
A Product Registration Form must be ﬁled for each product on which you’re requesting to use the Stamp. You can learn more about what is required on this form in the Stamp Usage Guide on the How To Use the Stamp page.
Email us if you’d like to see copies of any of these documents before you decide about joining the Whole Grains Council.
What does it cost to use the Stamp on our packages?
There is no cost beyond your annual membership dues. The Council does not charge a per-package royalty or licensing fee.
Why did you pick 8 grams and 16 grams for the minimums for your Stamps? Can I use other numbers?
These levels are not arbitrary; they are based on the latest research on whole grains and health. Both government and academic scientists agree that people should aim for three servings a day of whole grains.
A serving is deﬁned as at least 16 grams of whole grain content. So the Basic and 50%+ Whole Grain Stamps identify products containing at least 8g of whole grain – products that provide a half-serving (or more) of whole grains. We’ve set the minimum at 16g for the 100% Stamp: products must provide a full serving (or more) of whole grains.
To see USDA’s deﬁnition of a serving as 16g of grain, click here then scroll down to the page numbered 15, “Determination of Serving Deﬁnitions of the Food Guide Pyramid.”
Although 8g and 16g are the minimums, they are not the only numbers you’ll see on the Whole Grain Stamp. Every Stamp has a diﬀerent number that reﬂects the number of grams of whole grain content in a labeled serving of that speciﬁc product. If you have a line of products with closely varying whole grain content, you have the option to standardize by putting the LOWEST number on all products, for consistency.
I can’t easily picture things in grams. Can you help me visualize this?
Sixteen grams is just over half an ounce – about one and a half tablespoons of ﬂour. So a small amount of whole grain can really make a big diﬀerence in health.
Can I use languages other than English on the Stamp?
Yes! Whole Grain Stamps are available in many languages, as shown here. If we haven’t created one for your language yet, please tell us, and we’ll work with you to make it happen!
Is the stamp part of a government program?
No. It’s a voluntary consumer-advocacy program created by the non-proﬁt Oldways Whole Grains Council and its parent organization, Oldways, and supported by a unique coalition of small and large companies who manufacture and support whole grain products. The Whole Grains Council is constantly working with government agencies, including the US FDA and USDA, to encourage government rules that promote whole grain consumption, but the WG Stamp program is not a government program. Click here to learn more about FDA/USDA guidance on whole grain labeling.
When did the Whole Grain Stamp ﬁrst appear on grocery shelves?
Some products appeared as early as February 2005, but consumers started to notice the Stamp on a wide variety of foods in mid-2005. Every month, more and more companies worldwide are using the Whole Grain Stamp. This website has a list of products using the Stamps, and details on current Stamp usage.
How do you help consumers understand what the Whole Grain Stamp means?
The Whole Grains Council carries out an ongoing PR campaign to familiarize consumers with the Stamp. Since its inception, the Stamp has appeared on the Today Show and on Oprah, and in thousands of newspaper and magazine articles across the USA and outside the country, including major-circulation U.S. publications such as Parade, Cooking Light, Prevention, Vogue and Newsweek magazine.
We continue to publicize this helpful symbol as more and more products bearing the Stamp continue to appear on grocery shelves. Part of our multi-pronged campaign is pegged to working with grocery chains to educate consumers at the point of sale. Our goal is to make sure the Whole Grain Stamp is universally recognized by consumers everywhere. In fact, our 2015 Whole Grain Consumer Insights Survey showed that the Whole Grain Stamp plays a key role in consumer buying decisions.
If you have more questions about the Whole Grain Stamp or the Whole Grains Council, please contact Caroline Sluyter at 617-896-4832 or email@example.com.