New Requirements for Whole Grains in Schools: What it means to school food service providers

There have been some questions around what the changes are in School Food Service in regards to whole grain and how we as food manufacturers are supposed to be in compliance. Below are a few highlights and some links courtesy of the Whole Grains Council.
Changes to nutrition requirements for school operators:
• July 1, 2012 schools must provide half of their lunch grain portions as “whole grain-rich”
• July 1, 2013 schools must provide half of their breakfast grain portions as “whole grain-rich”
• July 1, 2014 schools must provide ALL grain portions as “whole grain-rich”
• “Whole grain-rich” means 51% or more of the grain in the food is from whole grain ingredients

So the question from most people is: how are operators and food manufacturers supposed to know they are meeting the “whole grain-rich” target? Well the USDA has provided some guidelines of course. This is based on serving size, which has changed from 14.5 grams to 16 grams, the type of food product – whole meal, side, main entrée, dessert, snack etc, and the grain equivalent of that food.

Check out a few references on this topic:
USDA Memo
Whole Grains Council Summary Clif Notes version

Why does the SPI Group Scoop care?
1. Our toolbox of solutions includes whole grains. We can help you meet these requirements with whole grain oats, rice, barley and wheat.
2. Our toolbox has solutions to help you when you find economics or eating quality has not gone as planned with the ingredient change. Our whole grain rice flour Pac Gel can replace gum or modified starch. Our Solec soy lecithins can provide lubricity to prevent sticking; our Vitacel fiber products can even out your moisture levels.

We have some tools the food product developer needs to continue to meet our changing and challenging environment.