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Our Views

Our Views Columns

Date: 6/20/2019

Title: Cattle Producers Must Remain Engaged in Dietary Guidelines Process


Back in January, NCBA members designated the Dietary Guidelines as a 2019 policy priority. Updated and published every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the dietary advice serves as the cornerstone for federal nutrition programs, nutrition standards, and nutrition education initiatives.  


Beef is a high-quality protein with essential nutrients like iron, zinc and B vitamins. Overwhelming scientific evidence consistently shows balanced diets with beef nourish and sustain good health. So why should cattle producers remain engaged in the process?


It is helpful to remember a bit of history. Back in 2015, under intense pressure from activist groups, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committees (DGAC) attempted to expand the scope of their work beyond nutritional advice and overlooked key pieces of evidence. Gold-standard studies on beef’s positive role in heart healthy diets were not included, and the DGAC expressed an interest in investigating topics like sustainability.


This time around, the DGAC appears committed to upholding the 2020 Advisory Committee Charter and staying true to the Dietary Guidelines’ core mission of nutritional advice. However, activists are still highly involved in the process. It is critical that cattle producers also monitor the DGAC proceedings and communicate accurate information about beef. The DGAC’s second public meeting will be held on July 10-11 in Washington, D.C. NCBA plans to attend this meeting and has submitted a request to provide oral comments on behalf of the beef industry through the Beef Checkoff.