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Senators Wrong on Meat Advice in Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson

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Thirty Senators wrote to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell expressing concern that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee supposedly removed lean meat from what it considers to be a healthy dietary pattern. The Senators could not have read the 571-page report very carefully. In fact, they must not have read much past page three, since page four clearly states that "lean meats can be a part of a healthy dietary pattern."

When they get such an obvious thing wrong, it’s no surprise that they mischaracterize the science surrounding consumption of red and processed meats on health. Diets high in red and processed meats are linked to an increased risk of heart disease and certain cancers, and the expert panel sensibly recommends eating less of those foods.

If anything, the 30 Senators have provided a useful reminder why scientists with expertise in diet and health, and not politicians, make the recommendations that form the basis of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

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Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at]cspinet.org) or Ariana Stone (astone[at]cspinet.org).