Secretaries Vilsack and Burwell Review Dietary Guidelines Process for House Ag CommitteeWed, 07 Oct 2015 11:39:36 CDT
The House Agriculture Committee held a public hearing today with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell to review the development of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA).
On Tuesday- the two Obama Administration officials jointly authored a blog that spoke to what the new Dietary Guidelines might look like. In that blog- they addressed the issue of whether "sustainability" should be a consideration in what the Government will say the American public should be eating. The two Secretaries wrote "There has been some discussion this year about whether we would include the goal of sustainability as a factor in developing dietary guidelines. (Sustainability in this context means evaluating the environmental impact of a food source. Some of the things we eat, for example, require more resources to raise than others.) Issues of the environment and sustainability are critically important and they are addressed in a number of initiatives within the Administration. USDA, for instance, invests billions of dollars each year across all 50 states in sustainable food production, sustainable and renewable energy, sustainable water systems, preserving and protecting our natural resources and lands, and research into sustainable practices. And we are committed to continuing this investment.
"In terms of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs), we will remain within the scope of our mandate in the 1990 National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act (NNMRRA), which is to provide “nutritional and dietary information and guidelines”… “based on the preponderance of the scientific and medical knowledge.” The final 2015 Guidelines are still being drafted, but because this is a matter of scope, we do not believe that the 2015 DGAs are the appropriate vehicle for this important policy conversation about sustainability."
The entire Blog Post be be read by clicking here.
After the hearing, Chairman Conaway said, “The federal dietary guidelines directly affect each and every American and should be based on sound, consistent, and irrefutable science. I appreciate Secretary Vilsack and Secretary Burwell for making this issue a priority, but I remain concerned that the advisory committee went far beyond its scope when advising on issues such as food sustainability and tax policy – areas in which the committee does not have expertise, evidence, or charter. Consumers should be able to trust the science behind DGA without fear of political or personal bias influencing each recommendation. After all, these guidelines are intended to help Americans make educated food purchasing decisions and live a healthy lifestyle.
“After hearing the secretaries acknowledge concern with regard to the DGAC exceeding their scope, I believe we can work together to get back on track and instill confidence in the process. I appreciate the secretaries for working with the Agriculture Committee to achieve what I hope will be a positive outcome that accomplishes the stated goals of DGA and preserves the integrity of the system.”
One of the more interesting conversations that lawmakers had with Secretaries VIlsack and Burwell was had by Alabama Republican Mike Rogers. He wanted to know from both officials how they thought red meat should be treated in the final Guidelines. You can listen to his question and their responses by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
The prepared comments of Secretary Burwell can be read here while Secretary Vilsack's opening comments can be seen here.
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