Group hopes to tout canaryseed health benefits

Consumers looking for an alternative to wheat and other traditional cereal grains might find it in canaryseed grown in Western Canada.

An analysis conducted as part of the Saskatchewan Canaryseed Development Commission’s submission to have the crop approved for human consumption revealed that the seed is gluten free.

Officials hope it will help them market the hairless canaryseed as an ingredient in gluten-free bread, flour and cereals or as a substitute for sesame seeds, which are considered a priority allergen.

“We’re really the ones, I’d honestly say, that are probably breaking ground on really doing the extensive testing,” said commission chair Glenn Byrnes.

The commission launched the initiative more than four years ago and has compiled nutritional, toxicology and allergen profiles of canaryseed.

The timeline for approval is unclear, but the group submitted its proposal to Health Canada for approval as a novel food in March.

“It’s very similar to other cereal grains,” said Carol Ann Patterson of Pathfinders Research and Management, who worked with the commission.

“Compared to all of the other gluten-free grains that are on the market place, it will provide a higher percentage of protein. The protein level is almost similar to what you get in pulses, which is really good.”

Patterson said work is also underway to get approval in the United States, while other efforts have tested canaryseed as a baking ingredient with promising results.

Byrnes said the development of hairless varieties with yellow seeds at the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre will hopefully make canaryseed more palatable for consumers.

The seed is typically sold as bird food in international markets.

“Before you can really do anything too much in (market development), you have to get that novel food status and because it’s also a gluten-free product, which is very important, there’s a lot of protocols and things that have to be met,” said Byrnes.

“But the potential is certainly there for that whole side of it.”

To pursue this market, Byrnes said producers will have to guard against cross-contamination with traditional grains and meet a high standard for production to maintain its gluten-free claim.

“It’s like in the registered seed business and all of the rest of it,” he said.

“There are protocols there that have to be met, but these would be even higher than those.”

Group hopes to tout canaryseed health benefits Agriculture  Crops   via The Western Producer

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