Whole grain barley and other products containing whole or milled barley are now allowed to claim that they are able cut the risk of heart disease, according to a decision by the US Food and Drug Administration.
"Consumers can expect to see whole barley and dry milled barley products such as flakes, grits, flour, meal, and barley meal bearing the health claim," the FDA said.
To qualify for the health claim, the barley-containing foods must provide at least 0.75 grams of soluble fiber per serving of the food, the agency said.
Coronary heart disease kills about half a million people a year, the FDA said in the statement. Risk factors for CHD include high total cholesterol levels and high levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Scientists believe a high-fiber diet helps lower cholesterol levels.