AMI Stresses Importance of Meat and Poultry in Diet in Comments Submitted to USDA in Response to Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee ReportThursday, July 15, 2010
(American Meat Institute)
A well-balanced diet, proper portion sizes and exercise are keys to reducing obesity in Americans and meat and poultry is a nutrient dense food containing high quality protein and an excellent source of micronutrients, said AMI in comments submitted today in response to the report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010.
“Meat and poultry products are an important component of a healthy human diet because they provide essential amino acids, minerals such as iron, vitamins, and other dietary requirements,” AMI states. “Meat and poultry products in the marketplace today, including processed and enhanced meat products, are available to consumers in an abundant variety of formulations at the most affordable prices found anywhere in the world.”
AMI noted that while it is pleased that the report accurately characterized meat and poultry as containing “high quality protein,” unfortunately the report simultaneously advises consumers to moderate their consumption. The most recent government data show that meat and poultry are consumed in the recommended amounts.
AMI believes that consumers would be well-served by an education campaign showing proper portion sizes and educating them in concrete and memorable ways about what should be consumed for optimal health and what a proper portion size looks like. This education program would reinforce and strengthen the overarching message that a balanced diet – from all food groups – needs to be eaten to maintain a healthy life-style. Recommendations to eat “only moderate” amounts of meat and poultry products may cause unintended consequences by creating deficiencies in essential amino acids, iron, zinc and vitamins A and B12.
In regards to the Committee’s recommended sodium reductions, AMI urged the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to consider the possible unforeseen consequences of those recommendations.
Although sodium certainly offers flavor, in meat and poultry it also affects the texture and sensory attributes of the product and has a tremendous food safety benefit because it reduces risks from pathogens.
Unfortunately, some sections of the technical report reveal a strong bias against processed meats. AMI realizes that this is largely due to concerns about sodium levels in some products. The comments note that, “Reducing sodium is not as simple as adding less and sending the product to market. The meat and poultry industry must ensure that there are no unintended food safety consequences to product reformulation.”
AMI noted that sodium reduction is occurring within the meat and poultry industry, but not at the expense of food safety of meat and poultry products.
AMI recommended that the
- Increase the number of food scientists on the Committee;
- Make the USDA’s Nutrition Evidence Library available to the public throughout the entire process of developing recommendations; and
- Make deliberations of the committee more readily accessible for Americans to participate.
- To view AMI’s comments in their entirety, go to http://bit.ly/9W4xos.
AMI has been actively engaged in the development of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, participating in all six Committee meetings and twice before submitting detailed comments concerning sodium’s role in meat and poultry products and the health benefits of consuming animal-based proteins as part of a balanced diet. On July 8, 2010, AMI Director of Scientific Affairs Betsy Booren, Ph.D., delivered oral testimony to USDA and HHS.share on facebook share on twitter