Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lobbying resumes as U.S. food guidelines posted

The United States Department of Agriculture has finally posted its recommendations for a healthy diet and has touched off a blizzard of lobbying.

The pork industry was fast off the mark, complaining that it’s foolish to recommend alcohol, but not pork.

“We think the advisory committee has taken the wrong approach,” said Howard Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa., who is president of the National Pork Producers Council.

“Science recognizes that meat is, and should be, a part of a healthful diet …. It appears the advisory committee was more interested in addressing what’s trendy among foodies than providing science-based advice for the average American’s diet.

“Have we really come to the point where alcohol is okay and meat isn’t?” he said, referring to the fact that the committee omitted lean meat from its recommended dietary pattern (recommending 5.5 ounces a day of “protein foods”) while including a recommendation for moderate amounts of alcohol.

Barry Carpenter, chief executive officer of the North American Meat Institute, said in a news release, that “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. Nutrient dense lean meat is a headline, not a footnote.”

Publication of the committee’s recommendations touches off a period for public comment.