Out of the Frying Pan…

The day lean meat became insignificant in America’s diet

I finished reading in disbelief.

Meatingplace’s article on the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s (DGAC) detailed an eleventh-hour, closed-door decision to remove lean meat from the list of foods being recommended as part of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines healthy foods list.

This astonishing action by the DGAC could have far-reaching, drastic implications for the meat industry, and it’s time for us to speak out against these shady, backroom politics.

The Dietary Guidelines are developed every five years as a healthy eating guide for Americans. They also help our government make decisions about school lunch program purchases and other food, nutrition and education policies regarding healthy eating. Daily consumption of meat has been included in the Dietary Guidelines recommendations since the first edition was introduced in 1980. These guidelines are developed by a respected DGAC based on an extensive review of scientific evidence that meat is one of the most nutrient-dense sources of protein and other important nutrients, including zinc, iron and B-vitamins.

I guess I shouldn’t have been baffled at how the current DGAC could decide it is appropriate to strip lean meat from its recommendations. It is clear that some of the committee members have radical viewpoints that aren’t grounded in fact-based science. It seems these individuals were able to sway the other members of the committee, making it acceptable to incorporate personal opinions into government recommendations regarding the makeup of a healthy diet for the American population.

This bold move by the DGAC should be another wake up call to our industry. Those organizations and individuals who want to eliminate meat production and consumption continue to hold sway over how our industry does business. Not only are they working to change consumers’ opinions about farming and production practices in order to influence how we produce and market our livestock, they now appear to be in a position to make government recommendations regarding what we should  eat.

We as an industry must continue to be vigilant in conducting sound scientific research that shows the nutritional value of meat, and use that data to educate consumers (and our government, it appears!) about meat’s role in a healthy diet. If you have such research to share at this time, or you too feel that the current DGAC is way off base in removing lean meat from its 2015 dietary guidelines recommendations, I urge you to stand up and make your voice heard.

Please take some time to review the DGAC’s recommendations and industry comments on the Health.gov website. Then work within your organization and in cooperation with other industry agencies to monitor the timing of the Federal Register’s announcement of the final comment period, and submit comments that support the continued inclusion of lean meats as a necessary part of the dietary guidelines.

I believe this is truly an industry turning point. If we don’t want it to be a tipping point, we must not allow the current recommendations to stand.


Helpful Links

Details about the dietary guidelines development process can be found here: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015.asp#overview.

During the December 15 DGAC meeting, the committee voted to approve as its final recommendations for a healthy dietary pattern, a diet that did not include lean meat. Following the meeting, interested parties were given until December 30 to comment. If you’d like to review the comments submitted, they can be found here: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2015/comments/readComments.aspx.

According to the Health.gov website on the guideline, the DGAC’s recommendations will be submitted to the Secretaries of the Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture in early 2015. Once submitted, a Federal Register notice will be published announcing the availability of the recommendations, and another open comment period will be announced along with a date for a public meeting to provide comments to the Federal Government on the report.

Speak Your Mind