NDSA submits comments on impending Dietary Guidelines

Farm Forum

In formal comments issued earlier this month, North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) President Steve Brooks voiced concern over recent recommendations from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee that minimize the role of lean meat in a healthy diet, reducing its mention to a mere footnote in the report.

“The Dietary Guidelines is a guiding document for Americans,” Brooks wrote in a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell. “Consumers deserve accurate information that reflects the latest nutrition evidence so that they can make sound decisions regarding food choices for themselves and their families. Anything less is a disservice that will send the wrong message to consumers and negatively affect the health of our nation for generations.”

Brooks said lean meat, particularly beef, is an excellent source of essential nutrients, like zinc, iron, protein and B-vitamins. He said the Advisory Committee ignored strong evidence, like the Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2012, when drafting its recommendations.

NDSA members are also concerned that the group of health experts reached beyond its scope of work and expertise in using “sustainability” standards in the nutritional recommendations, he said.

“While the beef industry has a great story to tell in terms of sustainability, it is inappropriate for the Advisory Committee to base its recommendations on information outside its health and nutrition charge and know-how,” Brooks said.

The Advisory Committee submitted its recommendations to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for use in the drafting of the five-year national nutrition standards.