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Government listens to Real Bread Campaign

Defra ‘currently considering’ issue of wholemeal legislation.

Wholemeal? Wholegrain? Brown? None of the above?. Credit: Public domain

Wholemeal? Wholegrain? Brown? None of the above?. Credit: Public domain

Responding to the latest in a series of emails from the Real Bread Campaign, on 30 January 2023 a policy advisor in the Food Compositional Standards Team wrote:

“We are currently considering if it would be suitable to adapt the wording on wholemeal alongside any other changes to the regulations taken forward following the consultation. 

As you have said in your previous email I believe the desired goal of the requirements relating to wholemeal is to protect the nutritional characteristics of wholemeal and ensure consumers are not misled as to the nutritional qualities of the product. This being said we would also want to avoid discouraging the use of wholemeal flour and in turn potentially reducing its consumption. We are conscious that any updates should ensure that an accurate description is required for any such products so that consumers are not misled and should maintain protection against the misuse of the term wholemeal.

Further exploration is still underway on this issue as we have also been analysing consultation responses and considering other issues regarding the regulations as well over this period.” 

Real Bread Campaign co-ordinator Chris Young said: “We continue to campaign for our proposed Honest Crust Act of updated and improved composition, labelling and marketing legislation across a whole range of terms and issues. For now, we’re glad that Defra is still chewing this one over. After everything we raised was omitted from last year's single-issue public consultation, at least they seem to be giving due consideration to this one."

On the issue of wholegrain, a word that the Honest Crust Act would define and regulate, Defra’s email concluded: “we have maintained that since the term has applications beyond that of bread and flour that the Bread and Flour Regulations wouldn’t be the appropriate instrument by which to introduce new controls on the use of the term in relation to food.” 

The Real Bread Campaign is now considering its response that, in addition to a refined proposal for regulating the use of the word wholemeal, will yet again will ask when and how bakers - and everyone else - will get to have their say.

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Published Friday 3 February 2023

Real Bread Campaign: The Real Bread Campaign finds and shares ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. Whether your interest is local food, community-focussed small enterprises, honest labelling, therapeutic baking, or simply tasty toast, everyone is invited to become a Campaign supporter.

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