Nutrition and wellness are central issues for the baking industry. Nutrition policy encompasses many areas, so sub-issues have been identified below.
ABA continues to lead the grain chain on messaging for the MyPlate food icon, USDA’s school meal standard proposal, marketing to children, sodium reduction strategies and front of pack labeling opportunities. Have a look in the digital nutrition files to learn more!
ABA is a National Strategic Partner in the USDA/CNPP Nutrition Communicators Network. “By partnering with USDA, corporations win, USDA wins, and the American consumer wins. That’s a win-win-win situation,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
The new icon is a powerful tool to help adults, parents and their children integrate healthy and sensible eating habits into their daily lives. Appropriately, grains occupy a large portion on the plate – a reaffirmation of grains as the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommendations preserve grains as part of the foundation of a healthy lifestyle stating that the average American should eat six servings of grain foods daily, making half of those whole grains. The new food graphic that replaced the food guide pyramid was unveiled on June 2, 2011. As part of USDA’s calendar of targeted nutrition messages, grains are scheduled to be featured Q3 2012.
On Jan. 25. 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled new standards for school meals. Specifically for grains, the new standards will substantially increase the offerings of whole grain-rich foods. After two years of implementation, all grains offered to students must be rich in whole grains– breads, buns, cereals and pastas must list whole grain as the first ingredient. Learn more on the School Meals page.
ABA led grain chain members in a strong statement opposing a proposal – put forward jointly by representatives for FTC, USDA, FDA and CDC – on voluntary children’s food marketing restrictions. The grain chain coalition statement focused on the statutory requirement that all nutrition related policy should be based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans; the marketing proposal is not based on the guidelines.
Bakers have pro-actively reduced sodium in their bread products by 29 percent in the past 47 years. USDA data confirms that the average sodium level in a slice of bread has dropped from 254 mg to 180 mg since 1963. ABA supports the goal of reducing sodium in foods, however it must be accomplished in a measured and thoughtful manner. ABA responded to FDA’s request for food industry input on sodium reduction efforts, providing comments and a white paper, “Considerations for Reducing Sodium in the Baking Industry”.
ABA joins with hunger groups and other industry allies in opposing choice restrictions for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients. Restricting SNAP choices would stigmatize participants, would not reduce obesity, could increase hunger and potentially damage the economy. ABA is part of an industry coalition that is addressing this emerging issue that will be part of the 2012 Farm Bill package.
These issues fall under the ABA Food Technical Regulatory Affairs Committee (FTRAC).
ABA Issue Expert: Lee Sanders