There is good news for companies producing foods made of barley.The US Food and Drug Administration has permitted foods containing milled or whole barley , like breads, cereals and others to proclaim on the jacket that they reduce heart disease risk.
The FDA ruling affirming barley's nutritional value allows companies to immediately begin advertising the benefit on their product packages, which many food makers hope will help boost consumer sales.
'Consumers can expect to see whole barley and dry milled barley products such as flakes, grits, flour, meal, and barley meal bearing the health claim,' the FDA said.
However, to qualify, barley-containing foods must provide at least 0.75g of soluble fibre per serving, the agency said.
Health claims on food reward companies that make healthier products while we enforce the law against companies that appeal to consumers through false and misleading health claims, said the FDA deputy commissioner for medical and scientific affairs, Scott Gottlieb.
In its submission to the FDA, the barley trade group said new data showed 3g of barley lowered cholesterol by about 5 per cent - similar to oatmeal.
FDA regulations allow food manufacturers to submit data to support their petition. In the past, it has allowed health claims on products containing walnuts, tomatoes and omega-3 fatty acids.
A cereal grain, Barley is mostly grown in the western province of the the United States. Many other countries also grow the product and though majority of it is used as animal feed or for making beer, it can be cooked like rice as a dish while its flour is used in baking. Barley is rich in fibres which health experts believe helps in reducing the risk of heart diseases.
New data shows, according to the barley trade group, that 3 gram of it suffices in lowering cholesterol by 5 percent.
About 13 million Americans are diagnosed with a heart condition, and it causes over 500,000 deaths annually, according to the National Institutes of Health.