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New Dietary Guidelines Stand By Importance of Meat and Poultry in Diet

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Washington, D.C. -- Meat and poultry continue to be important components of a balanced, healthy diet, according to Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, released today by HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson and Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman. The guidelines, now in their sixth edition, stand by earlier recommendations for consumers to include meat and poultry in their daily diets and to make choices that are “lean, low-fat or fat-free.”

This edition of the Guidelines places stronger emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity than previous editions. "As the government stresses the importance of reduced caloric intake and smart eating through consumption of a variety of nutrient-dense foods, the role of vitamin packed protein sources in a balanced diet becomes critical," noted Dr. Randall Huffman, Vice President of Scientific Affairs at the American Meat Institute Foundation. "Excellent nutrient dense protein sources, such as meat and poultry, offer essential vitamins and minerals and quick satiety, which is a vital part of any diet on track," he said.

Dr. Huffman praised the new dietary guidelines as a scientifically based, big picture view of the total diet. "Consumers are urged to pay close attention to these guidelines and to use a healthy serving of skepticism when considering the ‘nutrition study’ of the week," he said. "If we adhered to even a portion of the advice that comes from every ‘bad food’ headline, we’d be cleaning out our pantries on a weekly basis," he said. "Americans should continue to shun the good-food vs. bad-food advice frequently espoused by special interest groups and focus on adhering to the advice contained in these dietary guidelines." Huffman added.

The Dietary Guidelines is a joint project of both federal departments and is the latest review of federal guidelines required by law every five years. The guidelines offer the best science-based information available to help Americans eat right and live longer, healthier lives. For information about the nutritional value of meat and poultry, take a look at www.meatpoultrynutrition.org.

The recommendations will help consumers make informed choices about food selections from every food group, getting the most nutrition out of calories consumed and including exercise as a key component to a healthy lifestyle. "These recommendations highlight the long standing body of science that says in very clear terms that the key to a healthy lifestyle is a balanced diet that includes each of the key food groups, coupled with daily exercise," said Dr. Alice L. Johnson, president, National Turkey Federation.

The report also mentions the importance of food safety, and safe food handling, as key to staying healthy. Recommendations include keeping foods separate to avoid cross contamination, cooking foods to safe temperatures before eating, and tips on handling meat and poultry. For more information on safe food handling, look at meatsafety.org

"These guidelines remind consumers that a significant part of the food safety battle takes place at the grocery store when the food is purchased, and at the home, when the food is prepared," said Johnson. "Food handling and preparation are certainly one of the most important tasks performed in any household, and deserve your full attention," she added.

For more information contact:
David Ray
Vice President, Public Affairs
Janet Riley
Sr. VP, Public Affairs

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