Friday, February 20, 2015

Meat industry bashes new proposed dietary guidelines

Alcohol is OK but red meat isn't?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this week released the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommendations online, the agencies said in a news release. The recommendations are available for public review and comment. 

USDA and HHS will consider the committee's recommendation, "along with input from other federal agencies and comments from the public as they develop the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015, to be released later this year," the release said. 

The public is encouraged to view the independent advisory group's report and provide written comments at for a period of 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. 

Organizations representing the livestock industries were quick to issue comments on the committee's recommendations. 

"We think the advisory committee has taken the wrong approach," said Howard Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Ia., who is president of the National Pork Producers Council. "Science recognizes that meat is, and should be, a part of a healthful diet. It appears the advisory committee was more interested in addressing what's trendy among foodies than providing science-based advice for the average American's diet. Have we really come to the point where alcohol is okay and meat isn't?" he said, referring to the fact that the committee omitted lean meat from its recommended dietary pattern (recommending 5.5 ounces a day of "protein foods") while including a recommendation for moderate amounts of alcohol. 

Barry Carpenter, chief executive officer of the North American Meat Institute, said in a news release, "We appreciate the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee's recognition of the important role that lean meat can play in a healthy balanced diet, but lean meat's relegation to a footnote ignores the countless studies and data that the committee reviewed for the last two years that showed unequivocally that meat and poultry are among the most nutrient dense foods available. Nutrient dense lean meat is a headline, not a footnote." 

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association statement indicated lean meat plays an important role in the American diet and science shows it needs to be recognized as part of a healthy dietary pattern just as it was in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. They encourage Secretaries Burwell and Vilsack to reject the advisory committee's recommendation that healthy American diets should be lower in red meat. The process was incomplete with flawed conclusions specific to health benefits of red meat's role in the American diet. 

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