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Procurement and Service of Whole Grain Products

EO Guidance Document #
Resource type
Policy Memos
Resource Materials
PDF Icon Policy Memo (105.93 KB)
DATE: October 22, 2004
SUBJECT: Procurement and Service of Whole Grain Products
TO: Special Nutrition Programs
All Regions
State Agencies
Child Nutrition Programs
All States

Eating whole grain products has long been advocated by health and nutrition experts. The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend daily consumption of foods with whole grains as their primary ingredient as a means to protect against many chronic diseases. Increasing the consumption of fiber rich carbohydrates over those found in highly processed products may also be an important step in fighting our national obesity epidemic.

As you know, Congress endorsed the consumption of foods consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, such as whole grains, by including a new provision in the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004. The provision requires the Secretary of Agriculture to issue guidance to states and school food authorities to increase the consumption of foods and food ingredients that are recommended in the most recent Dietary Guidelines. Choosing a variety of grains daily, especially whole grains, is one of the recommendations applicable to the school meal programs. Once the new Dietary Guidelines are issued, we will be providing additional information on how to incorporate those recommendations in the school meals programs.

The importance of whole grains in the diet is now being recognized by food manufacturers and food processors. Recently, a major cereal manufacturer has made a decision to reformulate its product line using only whole grains. We encourage school food authorities to inquire about the availability of whole grain products when developing product specifications and making their procurement plans next year. We would also like for schools participating in the school meals programs to consider purchasing and offering whole grains whenever possible as part of their efforts to promote healthy eating and improving nutritional well-being.

For your reference, I am attaching the section of the Dietary Guidelines that discusses whole grains. Thank you for your continuing efforts to support schools in planning and offering nutritious meals to our nation’s school children

Stanley C. Garnett
Child Nutrition Division


Page updated: September 12, 2023

The contents of this guidance document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.