Food Service Operations

Whole Grain Resource

What is a Whole Grain?

Whole grains consist of the entire cereal grain seed or kernel. The kernel has three parts — the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. Usually the kernel is cracked, crushed, or flaked during the milling process. If the finished product retains the same relative proportions of bran, germ, and endosperm as the original grain, it is considered a whole grain.

When you see the following words, you will know that, by regulation (Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Standards of Identity), they describe whole grains that are used as ingredients:

• Cracked wheat

• Crushed wheat

• Whole-wheat flour

• Graham flour

• Entire-wheat flour

• Bromated whole-wheat flour

• Whole durum wheat flour

Common and usual names for other whole grains are noted below:

• The word whole listed before a grain, for example, whole corn.

• The words berries and groats are also used to designate whole grains, for example, wheat berries or oat groats.

• Rolled oats and oatmeal (including old-fashioned, quick-cooking, and instant oatmeal).

• Other whole-grain products that do not use the word “whole” in their description, for example, brown rice, brown rice flour, or wild rice.

A more comprehensive list of whole grains is provided as Attachment A.

Grain products (ingredients) that are not whole grains:

Flour has been designated by the FDA as the term for refined wheat flour. The following ingredients are not whole grains:


white flour

wheat flour

all-purpose flour

unbleached flour

bromated flour

enriched bromated flour

enriched flour

instantized flour

phosphated flour

self-rising flour

self-rising wheat flour

enriched self-rising flour

bread flour

cake flour

durum flour

corn grits

hominy grits




degerminated corn meal

enriched rice

rice flour