WASHINGTON, July 8, 2015 – A provision in the House Agriculture spending bill to restrict what kind of new recommendations the Obama administration can write into the new dietary guidelines could have a mixed impact on the sweetener business and other sectors, according to a study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based advocacy group.
The provision says that any new recommendations must be limited to diet and nutrition and based on evidence that is rated “Grade I: Strong’’ under USDA’s standards.
The provision also would require USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services to make public a draft of the new guidelines, together with the evidence supporting each new recommendation, for at least 90 days so the public can comment on them.
“It makes sense to be sure that there is a high level of confidence of nutrition policy recommendation even if it means a leaner set of recommendations,” John Bode, Corn Refiners Association president, said of the bill.
According to CSPI, the evidence requirement would still allow the new guidelines to recommend that less than 10 percent of energy intake be from added sugars and that consuming less added sugar would lower the risk of diabetes.
However, by restricting guidelines to diet and nutrition issues the bill would rule out several other recommendations. Among them: The guidelines couldn’t recommend listing added sugars on the front of food packages or the Nutrition Facts Panel. Also ruled out would be a recommendation for soda taxes or other economic incentives to reduce consumption of added sugars.
The CSPI analysis also said there could be no new recommendations to promote physical activity. On the other hand, the bill would leave in place existing recommendations that were based on evidence that was only rated “moderate” or “limited,” CSPI says. Among those recommendations is one that Americans eat fewer meals from fast-food restaurants.
Chairmen weigh in on dietary guidelines
Sen. Pat Roberts, the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, wrote Secretaries Vilsack and Burwell on Tuesday, asking them to publish only nutritional and dietary information in the guidelines. For a copy of their letter, click here.
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