USA— Mondelēz International, in collaboration with The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), has updated the labels of its Ritz and Premium brands with more informative information on whole grains content.
The products will now state the percentage of grains that are whole grains on the front of the packaging. A move that according to CSPI, will help consumers follow the MyPlate nutrition guidance set forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In accordance with the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, MyPlate nutrition guidance recommends that half of total grains eaten by consumers be whole grains. While most Americans meet the recommended intake of total grains, per the guidelines, 98% aren’t eating enough whole grains. Nearly three-fourths (74%) are eating too many refined grains.
Recommendations to eat more whole grains are based, in part, on scientific evidence showing reduced intake of refined grains is associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes. However, recent analysis has refuted the claim, instead pointing to unhealthy Western diets high in red meat and sugar-sweetened beverages as responsible for increased type 2 diabetes risk.
Ritz “Baked With Whole Wheat” Crackers and Fresh Stacks Crackers contain 44% of total grains content as whole grains, and Premium “With Whole Grain” Saltine Crackers contain 34%—values that will be added as part of the revamped packaging.
The new packaging also emphasizes the words “baked with” and “with” in the claims “baked with whole wheat” or “with whole grain” by making the words at least 75% as large as the words “whole wheat” or “whole grain.”
“The labeling changes that Mondelēz has agreed to make on its Ritz and Premium whole grain products are a significant step forward,” CSPI Litigation Director Lisa Mankofsky said in the statement.
“This new and improved labeling will help consumers make informed decisions about the grains they consume and enable them to build a diet that meets the 50% whole grain recommendation. We hope that other manufacturers of whole grain products will follow suit.”
CSPI has reached similar agreements with Bimbo Bakeries USA and Flowers Food. In 2016, it sued Kellogg over a whole-grain claim for Cheez-It crackers, reaching an undisclosed settlement.
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