No more Heart Mark endorsements for refined grain products

The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa has announced that it is removing refined grain products from qualifying for its Heart Mark Criteria.

The HSFSA says it regularly reviews the Heart Mark criteria and in early 2016 reviewed the endorsement criteria for refined cereal grain products, including white rice and white pasta, in light of local and international dietary and cardiovascular prevention guidelines that recommend the consumption of whole grain cereals instead of refined cereals.

“The available scientific literature clearly illustrates that consumption of whole grain products instead of refined cereals improve cardiovascular and overall health outcomes,” it says.

No new refined grain endorsements have taken place since 2016, and now the HSFSA has declared that existing Heart Mark logos must be removed from a string of products, mainly in the pasta and rice categories, by April 2019.

The Heart Mark programme is designed to help consumers make better food choices, and part of its efforts to reduce the number of deaths in South Africa from preventable heart disease and stroke.

The endorsement is awarded on merit of the product nutritional make-up, and never bought. Food products are independently tested and if a product fails to meet the Heart Mark criteria, it will not enter the programme. Manufacturers then pay a licensing fee to use the mark.

“Earmarking refined grains as a healthy food may lead to displacement of whole grains, legumes and vegetables. This does not mean that using refined grains as affordable and fortified energy sources should be actively discouraged,” notes the HSFSA.

“However, promoting their intake to maintain or improve health contradicts evidenced-based dietary advice and continued endorsement of refined grains is a disservice to the public.”

The Heart Mark logo will no longer appear on the following products from April 1 2019:

  • Allsome Parboiled Rice
  • Rice of the World – Bonnet Rice
  • Rice of the World – Jasmine
  • Tastic Long Grain Parboiled Rice
  • Rice of the World – Risotto
  • Rice of the World – Sushi
  • Jungle Taystee Wheat
  • Sta Rice
  • Cresta Long Grain Parboiled Rice
  • Aunt Caroline Long Grain Parboiled Rice
  • Aunt Caroline Basmati Rice
  • Paddy Everyday Rice
  • Paddy Aromatic White Rice
  • Paddy Sushi Rice
  • Paddy ‘Sela’ Parboiled Basmati Rice
  • Pasta Grande Maize Fusilli
  • Pasta Grande Maize Penne
  • Pasta Grande Maize Macaroni
  • Pasta Grande Maize Gnocchi
  • Pasta Grande Wheat Shells
  • Pasta Grande Wheat Penne Rigate
  • Pasta Grande Wheat Screws
  • Pasta Grande Wheat Elbows
  • Pasta Grande Wheat Spaghetti
  • Pasta Grande Wheat Mixed Ribbons
  • Pasta Grande Wheat Cavatappi
  • Pasta Grande Wheat Macaroni
  • Pasta Grande Wheat Gnocchi
  • Spekko Long Grain Parboiled Rice
  • Spekko Royal Umbrella Jasmine Rice
  • Spekko White Rice
  • Spekko Indian Gate Basmati Rice
  • Really Rice Parboiled Rice
  • Really Rice White Rice
  • Pasta La Vita Penne Rigate
  • Pasta La Vita Vermicelle
  • Pasta La Vita Elbows
  • Pasta La Vita Gnocchi
  • Pasta La Vita Tagliatelle
  • Pasta La Vita Fusilli
  • Macaroni for Africa
  • Pouyoukas Potato Flour
  • Pouyoukas Couscous
  • Pouyoukas Mediterranean Tomato Couscous
  • Pouyoukas Rice Flour
  • Pouyoukas Mild Indian Couscous
  • Pouyoukas Sweet Pepper Couscous

Source: HSFSA