The 43rd annual meeting of the ISO subcommittee SC4 “Cereals and Pulses” decided to start the voting procedure for the definition of whole grain with technical criteria for labelling. This is the next step towards the WGI goal of achieving global harmonization of whole grain definitions. Work in this area started in 2018 with the establishment of the Definitions Working Group. The group, chaired by Jan Willem van der Kamp, with more than 40 members from all continents, developed definitions for whole grain as a food ingredient and for whole grain foods. The definitions have been ratified by the C&G Association, ICC and the Healthgrain Forum. They are published, with a wealth of background information, in Nutrients (2022, 14, 138. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14010138 )
In 2022, ISO SC4 established its Working Group 10 “Whole Grains”, as proposed by the ISO liaison organization ICC. The definition now proposed by this working group, with 21 members nominated by national ISO bodies and ICC, is fully consistent with the published consensus definition. The format is different: ISO definitions are short, focusing on technical criteria. The definition document states that the publication in Nutrients “provides background information and explanations, as well as recommendations for matters to be determined at national level”. In the ISO format, the definition of whole grain applies to whole grain and the criteria for whole grain foods are described in a “Labelling and Claims” section. The working group regarded this as a principle for further global promotion and adoption. A first step in this direction could be the draft definition currently circulating for approval in China, called 全谷物与全谷物食品通则General principle for whole grains and whole grain foods, including all key items of the ISO definition document.