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Agricultural News

Dietary Guidelines Selectively Misguided

Wed, 01 Apr 2015 16:10:08 CDT

Dietary Guidelines Selectively Misguided

The latest national dietary guidelines proposed from an advisory committee has created quite the controversy. The committee of nutritionists decided sustainability should be included in consideration of your diet. According to Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, director of sustainability for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, said this group decided that beef was not very sustainable. She said that's simply wrong, as the beef checkoff has spent more than $2 million dollars on sustainability research.

"None of that research was referenced by the dietary guidelines committee," Stackhouse-Lawson said.

Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with Stackhouse-Lawson at the Noble Foundation's Texoma Cattlemen's Conference. Click or tap on the LISTENBAR below to listen to this Beef Buzz feature.

She said one of the biggest environmental impacts for the cattle industry is the conversation of land from pasture to row crop farming. Marginal land allows cattle to convert grass into protein and that same marginal land also provides open space for wildlife habitat, improves biodiversity with grasslands, trees, and different plants. Open space also sequesters carbon and provides clean water. Stackhouse-Lawson said making a change in the recommended diet could have long term consequences.

"We don't understand from a scientific perspective what the impact is of that change of diet," Stackhouse-Lawson said.

She said several well-respected scientists, including Dr. Frank Mitloehner of the University of California-Davis, have commented that sustainability science has not caught up to understand the unintended consequences of diet change.

Sustainability looks at the entire production process from the field to the consumer. Stackhouse-Lawson said the dietary advisory team didn't reference food waste in their recommendation. She said 40 percent of the nation's food is wasted and that's unfortunate because of all of the inputs to grow that food, plus that food will often end up in a land fill. Stackhouse-Lawson said food waste contributes 10 percent of the man-made greenhouse gases in the U.S. Overall, she said the dietary guidelines committee did not put together a comprehensive analysis.

The proposal from the dietary guidelines committee is open for public comment through the Federal Register until May 8th.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.


Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Kim Stackhouse-Lawson of NCBA
right-click to download mp3


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