House ag leaders express dietary guideline worries
House ag committee chair, subcommittee chairs say more emphasis needs to be put on nutritional science
House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, along with House Nutrition Subcommittee Chairwoman Jackie Walorski, R-Indiana, and House Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman David Rouzer, R-North Carolina, sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell raising concerns about recommendations received from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC).
The Republican members of Congress allege that the dietary guidelines have been influenced by factors that are external to nutritional science.
“Members of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee greatly exceeded their scope in developing recommendations,” Conaway said. “The secretaries share responsibility for these flawed recommendations because they failed to keep the committee focused on nutritional recommendations and away from areas such as sustainability and tax policy, which are outside of the committee’s purview. At a time when consumers are already subjected to conflicting and often contradictory nutrition and health information, the dietary guidelines must provide the public with realistic, science-based recommendations. Given the grave concerns that have been raised, more time is needed for public comment, and those comments should be fully reviewed and considered.”
The proposed dietary guidelines were introduced on February 19 and are subject to a 45-day comment period. Like the three Congress members, the North American Meat Institute has urged a longer comment period.