08/20/2012 03:44 EDT | Updated 10/20/2012 05:12 EDT

New data means packaging of beans, lentils, chickpeas can include protein rating

WINNIPEG - Canned and dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas can now include the statement "good source of protein" because of new data being adopted by Health Canada.

The health agency recently approved Pulse Canada's submission to adopt new protein efficiency ratio data for pulses, as previous values for some pulses were outdated or undervalued, the association said Monday in a release. PER values are used to determine the protein rating which is based on a 250-millilitre (one-cup) serving, Health Canada's reasonable daily intake (RDI) for pulses.

In the past, only cooked chickpeas (a 250-ml serving) could make a claim for "good source of protein," based on existing PER values, Pulse Canada said.

Research completed in 2010-2011 shows that additional pulses — red kidney beans, navy beans, whole green lentils, split yellow peas, black beans and pinto beans — may now be eligible for protein content claims. The new data will be made public as the values are updated on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website in the coming weeks.

In November 2010, the Canadian pulse industry, with support from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Agricultural Flexibility Fund, funded a study conducted by Dr. James House of the University of Manitoba to analyze the protein quality of pulses using PER and PDCAAS methodologies (PDCAAS is the method used in the U.S. and internationally).

Pulse Canada is the national association representing growers, traders and processors of Canadian pulse crops. Canada is the world's largest supplier of pulses, with exports reaching more than 150 countries.