Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell appeared today before the House Agriculture Committee to discuss the 2015 Dietary Guidelines. They told committee members that the new guidelines will stick to food-based recommendations that emphasize the importance of following total “healthy eating patterns” and that they will not deal with sustainability or recommend a food tax.
The hearing followed up on concerns expressed by Representative Mike Conaway (R-TX) chairman of the committee, and other members about recommendations made by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee in its nearly 600-page report released in February.
At the hearing, the secretaries assured the committee that the 2015 Dietary Guidelines will be based on sound science. They noted that thousands of scientific papers and decades of nutrition and medical research will be considered in addition to the more than 29,000 public comments that the departments received on the advisory committee’s report.
A question about milk was raised at the hearing by Representative G.T. Thompson (R-PA), who serves on the House committee. He asked whether current U.S. Department of Agriculture nutrition policies contribute to the trend of milk consumption falling short of the Dietary Guidelines recommendations. Vilsack said they are currently reviewing the policies, which will continue to evolve as new information becomes available.
In May, Thompson and Joe Courtney (D-CT) introduced the School Milk Nutrition Act of 2015. The bill focuses on preserving milk’s role in school feeding programs, while complying with the Dietary Guidelines.
USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services are currently finalizing the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, which are expected to be completed in December of this year.
For more information, contact Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.