Oklahoma Ag Secretary Jim Reese Urges Rejection of Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee ReportSun, 10 May 2015 06:26:38 CDT
Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese submitted the following comments to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell and the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Membership:
As Secretary of Agriculture for the State of Oklahoma, I am shocked by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee's recommendation to remove "lean meats" from the guidelines, but increase alcohol consumption. Oklahoma prides itself on producing quality beef that is leaner than ever before, is raised more efficiently than ever before, and is raised in a more environmentally friendly manner than ever before. I strongly encourage Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell to reject the committee's recommendations in regards to avoiding lean meats.
It is not the role of medical doctors and dieticians to determine how livestock should be raised. The very basis of the sustainability section refers to a United Nations - Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report that the FAO has already recanted. The reference to livestock's contribution to 30% of the nation's greenhouse gases (GHG) is now being promoted as 7%-18% by the FAO and as low as 3% of the GHG in the United States by the Environmental Protection Agency ("Inventory of US Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2007"). This means the basis of the sustainability report on GHG is inflated 900%. More importantly, why are medical doctors wading into livestock production to determine what food is best for us to eat?
There are more than 30 cuts of beef recognized as lean by the government's own standards. The suggestion to remove lean meats from the guidelines is contradictory to the 2010 Advisory Committee's report and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines which included lean meats in a healthy dietary pattern and recognized lean meats as being a nutrient-dense food.
In summary, there are serious concerns with multiple things that the committee is recommending. The exclusion of lean meats from a healthy dietary pattern and the suggestion to consume a diet that is lower in red and processed meats is unacceptable. In agriculture, we regularly battle with those who present misinformation to consumers and these suggestions from the committee are non-science based and misleading to food purchasers. Please, as government representatives, keep your recommendations consistent with science-based, peer-reviewed nutrition and health promoting evidence that can improve the health and eating habits of Americans.
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