WASHINGTON, April 29, 2015 – The comment period on the scientific report from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) is set to expire next week, and more than 6,600 submissions have already been submitted for review.

The report has been a lightning rod issue within the agricultural community since it was released in February. In the 571-page report, the DGAC issued recommendations that, among other things, suggest eating less red and lean meats and incorporating sustainability language into the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Updated every five years, the Dietary Guidelines serve as the basis for federal food and nutrition policy after being jointly released by the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services.

Livestock producers have been adamantly opposed to the lean meat and sustainability provisions, and their respective organizations are mobilizing to encourage members to be vocal in opposition. In comments submitted online today, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association President Phil Reemtsma said language in the report “reverses 30-plus years of nutrition advice and research.”

“When scientific evidence reveals that beef consumption is associated with improved overall nutrient intake, overall diet quality and positive health outcomes, it is fraudulent to tell the American public they should remove lean meats from a healthy dietary pattern.” Reemtsma said.

Proponents of the new language are also making their opinions known. A form letter from Friends of the Earth appears many times throughout the comments. The comments usually show up as an anonymous posting and support the “sustainability and health recommendations” in the report.”

“The science is clear that a more plant-centered, less resource-intensive diet is better for our health and the environment,” the comment says. The same comment appears with similar wording hundreds of times.

The comment period on the DGAC report closes May 8. After the expiration of that deadline, officials from USDA and HHS will jointly review the comments and issue the final 2015 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The new Guidelines are expected to be released in the fall or winter of 2015.


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