In creating the MyPyramid Equivalents database to analyze food intake data, the USDA Food Survey Research Group set 16 g of grain as an amount to apply loosely in determining 1 ounce-equivalent serving sizes for various types of breads and grains (USDA, 2008), whether whole grain or refined. One-ounce equivalents include ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta and one slice of bread (USDA/ARS, 2006). Notably, 16 g is approximately the weight of flour in 1 ounce of bread, but it is considerably less than the weight of dry rice (about 28 g) in ½ cup of cooked rice.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires foods that bear the whole grain health claim to contain 51 percent or more whole grain ingredients by weight per reference amount (FDA, 1999). In addition, food products must meet criteria for fat and cholesterol to bear this health claim. The FDA allows manufacturers to make factual statements about whole grains on food packaging such as listing the grams of whole grains per serving.
The Whole Grains Council has established two whole grain stamps for foods that contain specified amounts of whole grains. Products eligible for their “100% Whole Grain” stamp must contain ≥ 16 g of whole grains per serving. To be eligible for their “Whole Grain” stamp a product must contain ≥ 8 g of whole grains per serving. The Whole Grains Council’s stamp program is a voluntary labeling initiative. To take part in the initiative, manufacturers must join and pay annual dues to the Whole Grains Council (Whole Grains Council, 2007).
The USDA HealthierUS School Challenge (USDA/FNS, 2009b) includes the following criteria for determining whether a food item qualifies as a whole grain:
The food must be at least the portion size of one grains/breads serving as defined in the USDA Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs (USDA/FNS, 2009c); and