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Whole Grain Stamp Program Rolls Out Bilingual Canadian Stamp, New Restaurant Symbol

BOSTON -- To mark the third anniversary of the Whole Grain Stamp, the Whole Grains Council and its parent organization, nonprofit food issues think tank Oldways here, have introduced bilingual version for use in Canada, and a menu-friendly version for restaurants.

The Canadian Whole Grain Stamp employs the same black and gold graphics found on its U.S. cousin, but adds the words "Grains Entiers" ("Whole Grains" in French). The Canadian Stamp debuted after over a year of discussions with Canadian authorities on packaging regulations in that country. The stamp is already being used in Canada by such companies as British Columbia-based Nature's Path, a founding member of the Whole Grains Council.

Also, restaurants can now use the Whole Grain Menu Symbol, which features the signature grain-sheaf image from the Whole Grain Stamp and the words "Whole Grain." "We pared down the stamp to its essence so it will print clearly on menus," said Cynthia Harriman, director of food and nutrition strategies for Oldways and the Whole Grains Council in a statement. "Now the consumer who looks for the Whole Grain Stamp in stores will be able to count on it while dining out."

According to a December 2007 report from the Hartman Group, "Label Reading from a Consumer Perspective," which asked consumers questions about 13 packaging symbols, 60 percent of shoppers are aware of the Whole Grain Stamp, and the symbol is more trusted than all other symbols except the Heart Check, the USDA Organic Symbol, and standard Recycling symbols.

"The Whole Grain Stamp is one of those rare success stories in the world of changing eating habits," noted Oldways president K. Dun Gifford. "Now that we've expanded the program to Canada and to restaurants, we're already exploring the possibility of an international version for use in other countries, especially in Europe where interest is high."

The Whole Grain Stamp was introduced in January 2005, a week after the 2005 Dietary Guidelines first recommended that all Americans make at least half their grains whole. The symbol now appears on over 1,600 products, with over 180 food companies - including eight based in Canada and six based in Europe - supporting the industry standard.

Oldways, which created the Whole Grains Council in 2003, offers educational programs for consumers, scientists, the food industry, health professionals, chefs, journalists and policy makers.
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