Crediting Rice as a Whole Grain

In this September’s Food Focus, Contributing Editor Kelsey Casselbury invites readers to “Have a Rice Day!” Use the below bonus content, in tandem with the article on the uses for different types of rice and their global impact, as a primer on crediting rice as a whole grain in your school meal programs.

In the meal patterns for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, 28 grams, or approximately 1 ounce, of dry brown rice or a half-cup of cooked brown rice provides a 1-oz-eq. whole grain credit. Brown rice is considered a whole grain because it contains the entire kernel, which is the bran, the endosperm and the germ. Brown rice flour is also considered a whole grain, as is wild rice.

In May 2017, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced meal planning flexibilities that allow state agencies to offer exemptions from the whole grain-rich requirement for meal programs. This meant that state agencies could allow exemptions for certain products, such as white rice, if a school food authority (SFA) could demonstrate hardship in procuring, preparing or serving brown rice products that are acceptable to students. At a minimum, though, SFAs must meet the criteria that at least half of the grains served weekly be whole grain-rich.

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