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NAMA Applauds Importance of Grains in New School Meal Nutrition Standards

January 26, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. –– January 26, 2012 – The North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) applauds the importance of grain foods in the new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrition standards for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs unveiled yesterday. The standards continue to illustrate the importance of grains in the diet and highlight the benefits of whole grains. NAMA strongly supports efforts to provide more nutritious and appetizing school meals that improve the dietary intake of 32 million school children and protect their overall health.

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans announced last year included a recommendation to “eat six servings of grains per day and make half your grains whole.” In the rule announced yesterday USDA cited data that showed whole grain intake of children was less than one –quarter of the guideline recommendations while enriched grains intake is at or above the recommended levels. USDA’s decision to require all “whole grain-rich” foods in the school lunch program after two years is intended to bring children’s total diet consumption in line with the dietary guidelines.

The new standards define “whole grain-rich” foods as containing at least 51% whole grains with whole grains listed as the first ingredient. As requested by NAMA, the new nutrition standards will be phased-in over three years.

Recommendations for the serving size of whole grain-rich foods are based on the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendation of 16 grams per serving. However, the industry standard for whole grain products is 14.75 grams. NAMA supports USDA’s decision to continue to provide schools with guidance on serving size.

NAMA is the trade association representing 42 companies that operate 172 wheat, oat and corn mills in 38 states and Canada. Their collective production capacity exceeds 175 million pounds of product each day, more than 95 percent of the total industry production.

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The North American Millers’ Association prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact NAMA at 202.484.2200 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Mary Waters, President, 600 Maryland Avenue SW, Suite 825W, Washington, DC, 20024 or call 202.484.2200 ext. 12. NAMA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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