WASHINGTON, September 12, 2023—Roberta Wagner, senior vice president for regulatory and scientific affairs with the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), provided oral testimony today to the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC)—a panel of 20 nutrition and public health experts tasked with providing a scientific report to inform the federal government’s next update to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). In her testimony, Wagner stressed that 90 percent of Americans do not consume enough dairy to meet dietary recommendations, according to the 2020-2025 DGA report. Wagner urged the committee to maintain nutrient-rich dairy foods as a central part of a healthy diet, and she stressed that new science shows that limiting dairy based on fat level—as current guidelines recommend—does not lead to better health outcomes.
"An overwhelming body of scientific evidence demonstrates that dairy should be part of healthy eating patterns for all Americans, at all life stages and with various dietary needs,” said Wagner. “The DGA have long recognized the inherent benefits of dairy products, including milk, yogurt and cheese, as important sources of nutrients and associated with better health outcomes. At a time when people are not meeting DGA recommendations for dairy, deterring intake due to fat level is not science-based, nor is it in the best interest of public health.”
While the 2020-2025 DGA report prioritizes the consumption of low-fat and fat-free options, IDFA is urging the DGAC to review expanding scientific evidence demonstrating that consumption of dairy products, including full fat products, is not tied to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
“By expanding the variety of dairy products that are recommended for consumption to Americans, we may narrow the gap between recommended servings and current intake,” said Wagner. “For example, adolescents on average consume 1.6 to 2 servings of dairy per day, well below the recommendations of 3 servings per day. We urge the Committee to release the protocol for the systematic review of food sources with saturated fat so appropriate scientific studies can be shared to inform the Committee’s recommendations.”
Wagner’s comments also stressed the wide availability and affordability of nutrient-rich dairy products that are lactose-free and low in lactose for people who want solutions to address lactose intolerance and lactose sensitivity.
Today’s meeting was the third meeting of the 2025 DGAC and the first opportunity for IDFA to give oral testimony. IDFA submitted comments in June on the scientific questions posed to the DGAC. To read IDFA’s full submission to the DGAC meeting, visit here.
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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3.2 million jobs that generate $49 billion in direct wages and $794 billion in overall economic impact. IDFA’s diverse membership ranges from multinational organizations to single-plant companies, from dairy companies and cooperatives to food retailers and suppliers, all on the cutting edge of innovation and sustainable business practices. Together, they represent most of the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, and dairy ingredients produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. Delicious, safe and nutritious, dairy foods offer unparalleled health and consumer benefits to people of all ages.