Washington, D.C. — North American Meat Institute (NAMI) President and CEO Barry Carpenter expressed appreciation Tuesday at the announcement by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell that the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans “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,” and not include issues related to sustainability.
“As NAMI has noted in previous comments, while sustainability is an important food issue, it was outside of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s scope and expertise and would be more appropriately addressed by a panel of sustainability experts that understands the complexity of the issue,” Carpenter said. “It is reassuring that Secretaries Vilsack and Burwell have taken a strong stance to keep the Dietary Guidelines focused on nutrition and health.”
The Secretaries’ blog post also highlighted lean meats and other proteins as building blocks of a healthy diet, which is an encouraging sign that the agencies are applying strong scientific rigor to the Dietary Guidelines development process. As NAMI highlighted in its comments on the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) report, there is strong scientific evidence demonstrating high nutritional value of lean meat, including red and processed meats, as part of a healthy dietary pattern.
In fact, 17 of the 25 most popular cuts of beef and seven pork cuts meet the definition of lean by USDA and many lean, lower in saturated fat and lower sodium processed meats can be purchased. According to a NAMI menu model analysis using the recommendations of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a diverse array of processed meats, even when consumed twice daily for one week, allow consumers to stay within daily calorie and nutrient goals, while also helping individuals meet or exceed recommended nutrient intakes.
“Moving forward, we hope the agencies will continue to focus on the clear science highlighting the wide variety of nutrition benefits of all meat and poultry products to develop a Dietary Guidelines for Americans best suited to achieve healthy outcomes for all Americans,” said Carpenter.