Appropriations Rider on Dietary Guidelines Changes Little, Says CSPI

Statement of CSPI President Michael F. Jacobson


The rider attached to the omnibus appropriations bill related to the Dietary Guidelines should have no effect on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and probably no effect on the process by which future editions of the Guidelines are prepared. The Guidelines is already required by law to be limited to matters of nutrition and diet, be developed by a balanced and diverse group of distinguished scientists and viewpoints, be based on sound science, and be developed in a transparent, objective public process.

At the heart of the debate over the Dietary Guidelines is the meat industry’s everlasting fear that the government will urge Americans to eat less red meat. That was true as far back as 1977, when the meat industry pressured a Senate committee to water down advice from “decrease consumption of meat” to “choose meats, poultry, and fish which will reduce saturated fat intake.” And that remains true in 2015, when the meat industry, the so-called “Nutrition Coalition,” and at least three top-tier D.C. PR firms attempted to cast doubt on the scientific integrity of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

The preponderance of scientific evidence shows that Americans should eat less red and processed meat to help reduce their risk of cancer and heart disease. Americans should eat more vegetables, fruits, seafood, legumes, nuts, and whole grains and less sugar, refined grains, and salt. Any other conclusion would not be based in science, but politics.

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