WASHINGTON — Mondelez Global LLC, in collaboration with The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), is changing the label on its Ritz Baked with Whole Wheat Crackers, Ritz Baked with Whole Wheat Fresh Stack Crackers and Premium with Whole Grain Saltine Crackers to provide additional information quantifying the products’ whole grain content.
On the front package of the labels, the products now will state the percentage of their grains that are whole grains. These percentages are: Ritz Baked with Whole Wheat Crackers (44%), Ritz Baked with Whole Wheat Fresh Stack Crackers (44%) and Premium with Whole Grain Saltine Crackers (34%).
In addition, the CSPI said Mondelez has agreed to make the “baked with” and “with” in the claims more prominent (i.e., at least 75% as large as the words “whole wheat” or “whole grain”).
“The labeling changes that Mondelez has agreed to make on its Ritz and Premium whole grain products are a significant step forward,” said Lisa Mankofsky, litigation director at the CSPI. “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.”
The CSPI has been pushing for other manufacturers of products containing some whole grain to make their labels more informative for consumers.
Last year, the CSPI said Bimbo Bakeries USA and Flowers Foods, Inc. would be changing the labeling on certain bread, bagel and muffin products to provide additional information quantifying the product’s whole grain content.
The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend Americans consume half of their grains from whole grain sources and the remainder from enriched grains. The Dietary Guidelines recognize whole grains are “one of the three food groups that are fundamental constituents of a healthy dietary pattern.”
The Dietary Guidelines also maintain the existing recommendation for the average healthy American adult to consume six 1-oz servings of grain foods daily, with half of those servings coming from whole grains, and for the first time, the Dietary Guidelines include recommendations for birth to 2 years.
In order for consumers to make informed decisions about the grains they consume, the CSPI said it believes consumers should know the percentage of whole grain content in the grain foods they consume. Simply stating a product is made with whole grains is not enough for consumers to follow recommendations, the CSPI said. MBN