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It's a mistake to downgrade the importance of bread in a healthy diet Reports NAMA in comments submitted to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

September 29, 2004

CONTACT: TerriTodd, Director of Communications
202.484.2200, ext.108
ttodd@namamillers.org

Washington, DC – September 29, 2004 – NAMA (North American Millers’ Association) urged the U.S. government not to embrace whole grain products at the expense of enriched grain products in comments submitted to the Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture. The agencies invited the public to comment on the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s Final Report. The report, released in August, will serve as the basis for the sixth edition of Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which the agencies expect to publish in January 2005.

Approximately 95 percent of grain products are enriched with three major B vitamins and iron. Since 1998 all enriched grain products have also been fortified with folic acid. Why? The U.S. was looking for a way to fight birth defects through the delivery of folic acid. Enriched grain products proved to be a good vehicle to use. Why? They retain the nutrients even after being baked. They taste good. And they’re affordable.

Enriched fortified grain products, such as bread, provide Americans with many essential nutrients. They can be credited for effectively decreasing the incidence of neural tube defects, brain cancer, and deaths from stroke and heart disease. They can also be credited for completely eradicating pellegra and beriberi in the United States. Fortifying grain products with nutrient rich vitamins and minerals has been so effective that other countries, including Canada and Chile, are mandating the enrichment of their grain products. For these reasons, NAMA is urging the agencies to recommend Americans include whole grain products in their diet, but not at the expense of enriched grain products like bread.

Enriched grain products remain an excellent vehicle for delivering nutrients. That has not changed. What has changed is Americans have become less active. Bread and other grain-based products are not causing America to be obese. These products can help provide Americans the energy they need to get active.

NAMA has 47 member companies operating 170 wheat, corn, oat and rye mills in 38 states,150 cities, and Canada. The aggregate production capacity of NAMA’s membership is more than 160 million pounds of product daily, which is about 95% of the total U.S. capacity.

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