Spelt, quinoa, Kamut not “grains”: CGC

Don’t count on protection from the Canadian Grain Commission if you’re growing Kamut, spelt or quinoa.

The CGC on Friday ruled that the three crops, often described as “heritage” or “ancient” grains, are not considered “grain” as defined in the Canada Grain Act.

Thus, the CGC will not set up a grade schedule for the crops, nor will a farmer selling any of those crops be eligible for payment security coverage on deliveries, if a CGC licensee doesn’t pay the farmer. Those commodities won’t be included when the CGC calculates its security requirements for its licensees.

This also means farmers who grow any of the three crops will not have the right to refer to the CGC to determine grade and/or dockage.

The CGC’s inspectors will consider spelt and Kamut to be “other cereal grains,” and quinoa to be “matter other than cereal grain” if they’re found in any shipment of CGC-regulated crops.

Quinoa, the CGC said, is not a grass but is considered a “pseudocereal.” Originally harvested in South America, quinoa is used like cereal grains and can be a replacement for wheat in gluten-free food, the CGC said. Northern Quinoa Corp., a Kamsack, Sask. company that markets the crop, describes it as a broadleaf crop and a close relative of lamb’s quarters.

Kamut is a cereal that some of its promoters describe as an ancient relative of durum wheat. Current varieties were developed from grains brought to the U.S. in the 1940s. No varieties of Kamut are registered in Canada, the CGC said.

Kamut is a registered trademark held by Montana-based Kamut International and an affiliated European company. The company says over 37,000 acres of Kamut were grown in North America in 2007, primarily in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Montana.

Spelt, considered an “ancient” grain and a close relative of common wheat, has recently benefited from a surge of interest as a heritage grain, a health food and, usually, an organic crop.

According to Ontario’s ag ministry, the starch in spelt is more soluble than wheat and recipes containing spelt flour will frequently require less water than when using wheat flour.