Call for regulation on use of term wholemeal

Hull trading standards have echoed the Real Bread Campaign’s call to Government, as the campaign has been involved in calls for the government to revise regulation of how the world wholemeal can be used.

As part of the campaign, they argue that wholegrain and wholemeal require legal definitions and should be distinct from one another to ensure “honesty and transparency”.

According to Real Bread Campaign, the trading standards department of Hull City Council is the latest to share the Real Bread Campaign’s insistence.

In a response to the Real Bread Campaign’s December 2022 complaint regarding Jacksons Blooming Both, on 25 May 2023 a trading standards officer wrote: “I agree with the Public Analyst and [my colleague] we need some guidance from Government (FSA/DEFRA/DoH) or change in the regulations.

“We would need specific guidance, or better still a ‘protected designation’ for the description Wholemeal. I would suggest that this is an issue to pursue with Government (FSA/DEFRA/DoH).”

In January 2022, the Legal Manager at Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards, investigating the Campaign’s same complaint about Hovis Best of Both, also concluded the need to refer the case to Defra.

On 26 September 2022 a member of Defra’s Food Compositional Standards Team wrote: “my team are giving further consideration to the points raised.” On 4 April 2023, the same policy officer replied to the Campaign’s request for an update: “In terms of points raised around 50/50 products we will be engaging further with trading standards. It should be noted that we can’t provide authoritative statements of law as our view may differ from trading standards or the courts.”

“Legislation should be clear, with little to no need for interpretation. Instead we have consumer protection bodies consulting Defra, which in turn has noted potentially differing views on the subject. This is yet more evidence to support of our belief that the 25 year old Bread and Flour Regulations are not fit for purpose and we need a new Honest Crust Act,” commented Chris Young, Real Bread Campaign coordinator.

According to Section 6 of The Bread and Flour Regulations 1998, it states that: ‘There shall not be used in the labelling or advertising of bread, as part of the name of the bread, whether or not qualified by other words […] the word ‘wholemeal’ unless all the flour used as an ingredient in the preparation of the bread is wholemeal.’

The Real Bread Campaign argue that products made with 50% white flour are being named and marketed using the word wholemeal. Meanwhile, the word wholegrain is not defined or its use regulated.

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Caitlin Gittins
Editor, International Bakery
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 920

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