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Meat Institute Issues Strong Response to Final DGAC Report

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

(North American Meat Institute)

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) released its scientific report , in which it identified a healthy dietary pattern as one that is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes and nuts; moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains. The report noted that lean meat can play a role in a healthy diet, but placed this conclusion in a footnote.

"Lean meat's relegation to a footnote ignores the countless studies and data that the Committee reviewed for the last two years that showed unequivocally that meat and poultry are among the most nutrient dense foods available" said NAMI President and CEO Barry Carpenter . "Lean meat is a headline, not a footnote," he added.

The Meat Institute also called the Committee's recommendation to reduce red and processed meats consumption "nonsensical" and "contradictory," especially given data the Committee reviewed that found followers of the Mediterranean diet consume twice as many processed meats as included in USDA food patterns.

For the first time, the Committee urged Americans to consider the environmental footprint of their food. The report concluded that sustainable diets are higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and lower in calories and animal-based foods than the current U.S. diet.

"The Committee's foray into the murky waters of sustainability is well beyond its scope and expertise," Carpenter said. "It's akin to having a dermatologist provide recommendations about cardiac care."

In addition, the Committee recommends a dietary pattern that contains less than 2,300 mg of dietary sodium per day, less than 10 percent of total calories from saturated fats and a maximum of 10 percent of total calories from added sugars per day. The report also withdrew longstanding warnings about dietary cholesterol, noting that it is no longer a "nutrient of concern for overconsumption."

The DGAC submitted its recommendations to USDA and HHS, which will now work collectively to develop the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a document that sets federal nutrition policy. The public may submit written comments in response to the report through April 8, 2015. The Departments will host a public meeting on March 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. to receive oral public comments. Registration for the meeting is expected to open on March 9. NAMI joined members of the Dietary Guidelines Industry Coalition in requesting an extension in the public comment period from 45 to 120 days to provide sufficient time for meaningful review.

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