Barley classification changing to reflect its potential

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WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA — On Aug. 1,  the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) is revising barley classification to highlight barley's potential for a diverse range of end uses, including food products, the CGC said on July 7.

"Changing how barley is classed is an example of the valuable work done by the Western Standards Committee and demonstrates the flexibility of our system," said Elwin Hermanson, Chair of the Western Standards Committee and chief commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission. "Committee members saw these changes would benefit Canada's barley producers, industry and consumers of Canadian barley."

At its meeting on April 3, the Western Standards Committee recommended the following changes:

  • Adding a food class.
  • Removing the hulless class.
  • Adding hulless and covered barley to primary grade determinant tables for food, malting and general purpose classes.
  • The full grade schedules for each class of barley are included in the Western Standards Committee's April 3 recommendations.

Currently, barley is classed as malting, hulless or general purpose. After Aug. 1, barley will be classed as food, malting or general purpose, which better describes potential end-uses. Rather than having a hulless class, each class will have hulless and covered varieties.

In the current system, if a variety suited for malting were a hulless variety, it would be classed as hulless barley, not as malting barley, which could lead customers to overlook its potential as malting barley. In the revised system, this variety will be more accurately classed as malting barley.

The new food class demonstrates to customers that Canadian barley has potential for use in a variety of food products. Canadian barley breeders have developed several barley varieties with a focus on maximizing beta-glucan content for food use.

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