Industry Begs to Differ
Industry’s view was different. Take out most of the wheat berry’s germ, add in more stable, processed ingredients to increase shelf life, and call it “whole wheat” if the nutritional value is substantially the same. In other words, continue the same confusion that led to the 2007 decision to consider new labeling.
In 2007, the National Post interviewed Paul Hetherington of the Baking Association of Canada on the issue:
Mr. Hetheringon stated that whole wheat products serve as “a transitional category for consumers moving from white to whole wheat and potentially whole grains.” In addition, he said many consumers view whole grains as unappealing due to taste and texture and that whole wheat provides that important next step for consumers wishing greater nutritional benefit without the taste and texture associated with whole grain products.
The Envelope, Please
Fast forward five years, during which Health Canada was theoretically developing new guidelines. Now consumers know the winner is…industry, once again.
Health Canada has completely dropped the ball, assuring industry they need not come up with new wording or, even more awful to contemplate, actually add the whole germ of the wheat berry into “whole wheat” products. They can keep on fooling the public with labels that imply more nutrition than their products deliver.
As for Canadian consumers, they can continue to wander in Wonderland. Research has linked the consumption of whole grains with outcomes Health Canada theoretically supports: lowered risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Dietitians routinely counsel clients to eat more whole grains. But health-conscious consumers will still have to try to remember that “whole wheat” on Canadian labels does not mean “whole grain.”
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