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Our Views

Our Views Columns

Date: 9/18/2014

Title: NCBA Remains Engaged in Dietary Guidelines Discussion

At the previous public meeting held on July 17-18 to discuss the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, conversations among the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) leaned toward the recommendation of plant-based diets to promote sustainability in the food chain. This week’s fifth public meeting appeared to follow suit.

Food Sustainability and Safety subcommittee chairperson Nelson stated that sustainable diets generally included lower intakes of red meat and dairy but that the evidence was not strong enough to make specific recommendations for reducing or limiting individual foods. Instead, she said recommendations were for more of a “shift to plant-based foods from animal-based diet.”

The DGAC meets regularly to discuss and compose recommendations for USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services to consider as they get ready to publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015. Of great concern to NCBA membership is the lack of statutory authority the committee, comprised solely of nutrition and health experts, has to make recommendations pertaining to specific food production practices.

NCBA believes the committee should focus on topics that lie within USDA’s and HHS’ authority and remains engaged in the conversations. NCBA has submitted several comments highlighting the scientific evidence supporting the role of beef in a healthful balanced diet. Research shows that eating lean beef as part of a well-balanced diet can improve health and numerous clinical trials have consistently demonstrated that consuming 4-5.5 ounces of lean beef as part of a heart-healthy diet can contribute to overall healthful dietary patterns and improve markers for health.

The DGAC is scheduled to meet again in November for the sixth and final public meeting. The DGAC report with the committee’s recommendation is expected to be submitted to the federal agencies in December. A public meeting in late winter or early spring 2015 will likely take place to provide oral testimony on the DGAC report. The final policy document (the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015) is proposed to be released in fall of 2015.