The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) has formally requested an extension on the comment period for the scientific report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee from 45 days to 120 days.The committee released its report on February 19.
“To provide a thorough and meaningful review and comment, which has been encouraged by the agencies, a 120-day comment period is appropriate,” said NAMI Vice President of Scientific Affairs Betsy Booren, Ph.D.
According to Booren, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) spent nearly two years reviewing the body of the evidence to formulate the report. Providing interested stakeholders a mere 45 days to review the 571-page report as well as the entire Nutrition Evidence Library does not allow adequate time for thorough review and input, she said.
“The agencies have encouraged a transparent collaborative process, yet a limited time for review does not allow for such a process. Such a short comment period runs the risk of appearing to exclude meaningful comment,” Booren said. “The 120-day comment period will provide the most insightful response to the DGAC report, which will be useful as the agencies develop the final policy.”
NAMI has previously registered strong concerns about the committee’s contradictory recommendations to eat lower amounts of red and processed meat while at the same time saying in a footnote that lean meat can be part of a healthy, balanced diet. The Institute also objected to the Advisory Committee’s focus on sustainability, which is outside the committee’s charter. "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 in a statement. "Lean meat is a headline, not a footnote," he added.