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Congressmen Call for Sound Science in Dietary Guidelines

Jul 15, 2015
Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) is chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, which has jurisdiction over USDA.

U.S. Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) sent a letter last week to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of Health & Human Services Sylvia Burwell, urging them to base the final 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans on “sound scientific evidence and medical knowledge” and to limit “agenda-driven” recommendations to nutrition and diet.

In February, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) sent to the Secretaries their nearly 600-page scientific report, which provides recommendations for the agencies to consider as they develop the 2015 Dietary Guidelines. Expressing strong concerns that the report included recommendations that were not based on “modern science,” the chairmen urged the Secretaries “to consider recommendations that are based on a preponderance of current scientific and medical knowledge, promote healthy diets and reduce chronic disease risk for Americans.”

USDA and HHS will examine the report and public comments before releasing the official 2015 Dietary Guidelines at the end of the year. Last updated in 2010, the guidelines provide nutrition guidance that is followed by a variety of government programs, such as the federal school breakfast and lunch programs, which affect millions of Americans.

According to Roberts and Alexander, “It is critical that Congress and the American people have confidence in the integrity of the final product, and that the 2015 Dietary Guidelines are not agenda-driven, but are based in strong, consistent science and current medical knowledge that will effectively result in healthy dietary patterns.”

The full text of the letter is available here.

Roberts serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Alexander serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which has jurisdiction over the Department of Health and Human Services. Roberts also is a member of that committee.

IDFA submitted comments in May in response to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s report. Read more here.

For more information, contact Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs, at

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