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Agricultural News

Chairmen Conaway and Aderholt Commend Rep. Hartzler for Dietary Guidelines Letter

Wed, 01 Apr 2015 11:27:16 CDT

Chairmen Conaway and Aderholt Commend Rep. Hartzler for Dietary Guidelines Letter On Tuesday, Vickie Hartzler (R-MO) along with 70 Members of Congress, including House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) and House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt (R-AL), sent a letter to Department of Health and Humans Services Secretary Burwell and Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack expressing concerns with the report issued by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) and certain recommendations for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA).

In the letter, members raised concerns that the DGAC report exceeds the scope of its charge by straying from purely nutritional issues and venturing into areas like sustainability and tax policy. At a time when consumers are already subjected to conflicting and often contradictory nutrition and health information, providing the public with science-based, realistic and achievable information is more likely to contribute to improved public health outcomes, the letter states.

Upon signing the letter, Chairman Conaway said, "The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee significantly overstepped its bounds when it strayed from science-based nutritional recommendations and singled out certain industries. These unsubstantiated, pre-determined conclusions will have far-reaching effects, not just for industry, but for the American public. Again, I urge the Secretaries to commit to a process to fully review and consider the public comments before publishing new dietary guidelines, and I applaud Congresswoman Hartzler for leading this effort to ensure the public is not misled by these recommendations."

Chairman Aderholt said, "When our Subcommittee conducted oversight hearings over the past few months, I raised my concerns with Secretary Vilsack and Commissioner Hamburg about unnecessary political influences in this process. Both of these individuals made commitments on behalf of USDA and FDA, respectively, to stay within the statutory requirements and to make nutrition recommendations after reviewing the science. We expect the agencies to deliver on their commitment to look at all current science and use a fair and balanced approach as they formulate the final dietary guidelines."

Rep. Hartzler said, "The notion that the recommendations in this report were made based on selected data and excluded valuable nutritional information is appalling. As someone who taught nutritional science for 11 years, I am disturbed by the suggestion that a quality source of protein like red meat shouldn't be a part of a healthy diet. Flagrant claims like that are cause for concern and call into question the validity of this report. I urge and hope the agencies charged with finalizing the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans will stay within the confines of their charter and base the final recommendations on the most current, irrefutable nutritional science."

Earlier this month, the House Agriculture Committee expressed grave concerns with the DGAC's recommendations calling on them to extend the timeframe for comments and commit to a process to fully consider those comments. The comment period was recently extended through May 8, 2015, and stakeholders are encouraged to submit comments.

Click here to read the letter sent by House Ag Chair Conaway and members of Congress.



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