Alastair Ross

About him: Alastair Ross, an associate professor in food and nutritional metabolomics at the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, has worked on cereal research in both academia and industry for over 17 years. He has specialised in biomarkers of cereal intake and using advanced analytical chemistry to understand how cereals affect human metabolism, and has run and been involved in many clinical trials on whole grains and health. A New Zealander, he holds a PhD from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and worked for over 8 years at the Nestlé Research Centre in Switzerland. He has published over 60 peer reviewed articles and reviews, and has an H-index of 22. Alastair has chaired the Healthgrain Forum working group on setting up a definition for whole grain foods, bringing a joint perspective from both academia and industry.

About his talk - 13 November, Session 2: "Whole grain food definitions and logos – can anyone agree?"

Without a universally accepted whole grain food definition, it is difficult for manufacturers to know how they should label their products and set targets for increasing whole grains; difficult for whole grain researchers to know how much whole grain people are eating, and most importantly, confusing for consumers to know if they are eating what they think they are. Definitions are beguilingly simple, yet devilishly difficult to get right and to get consensus on. What are the current definitions and what are their shortfalls and controversies?  Can these be surmounted? What roles do labelling and logos play?  Why can’t everyone agree on something that is surely so simple? This talk will address some of these issues and look to how a universally accepted, whole grain food definition can be established.