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House Appropriations Committee Advances Bill Including Provision to Address Dietary Guidelines

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

(North American Meat Institute)

The House Committee on Appropriations last week approved a $153 billion bill funding the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Education and Labor, by a vote of 30 to 21. The bill included language that would require USDA and HHS to limit the final Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) to matters of diet and nutrition and would mandate that scientific evidence only be included if it is considered "Grade 1: Strong" by the Nutrition Evidence Library's grading system. Recommendations concerning sustainability and tax policy would be barred from inclusion in the final DGA. HHS and USDA would also be required to release draft guidelines for a public comment period of no less than 90 days, followed by an agency review period of at least 60 days. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) offered an amendment to strike the dietary guidelines language from the bill, but the measure failed by a vote of 32 to 18.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) responded to the language with a letter to Appropriations Committee members in which it challenged the bill's language, defended the scientific basis of its recommendations and argued that the legislation risked undermining the entire dietary guideline review process.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies previously advanced an appropriations bill that included identical language regarding the forthcoming dietary guidelines.

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