An effort underway for at least six years to create a checkoff program to promote wheat-based grain foods is being recalled by the body that proposed it.
The Grain Foods Foundation (GFF) has petitioned USDA to withdraw the Wheat Flour Foods Promotion, Research, and Information Order from further consideration. Apparently the proposal was ready to move forward with publication in The Federal Register, a subsequent public comment period and finally an industry referendum.
The idea was the result of a 2016 checkoff feasibility study, undertaken by GFF at the request of members common to both GFF and the American Bakers Assn. The groups didn't specify the amount to be charged members, but it would have raised funds for marketing, scientific research and other promotion of wheat-based foods.
The withdrawal petition followed a May 10 vote by the GFF Board of Trustees, expressing strong support for the withdrawal of the project. In a statement from GFF, Kirk Stehr, GFF co-chair and senior vice president of Grain Craft, said industry disagreement over the checkoff program was undermining the promotion of grain-based foods. "The checkoff conversation has become a distraction to the work GFF needs to do on behalf of the whole industry."