Will the U.S. Miss the Boat of Sustainable Dietary Guidelines?

April 20, 2015 9:08 PM

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Every five years the United States issues dietary guidelines that provide practical advice on healthy eating for the public and form the bedrock of Federal food and nutrition programs. The latest version will come out at the end of this year. For the very first time, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) is considering issues of sustainability and environmental protection. Unfortunately, they are facing opposition on several fronts. In December Congress directed the DGAC "not to pursue an environmental agenda" and to reject any considerations of production or environmental factors, arguing that those issues are outside the scope of the panel. Two weeks ago, a letter from 71 members of Congress was sent to the Departments of Health and Agriculture expressing concerns about the latest Scientific Report of the 2015 DGAC against the inclusion of sustainability considerations because they will cause "consumer confusion" and are not scientifically substantiated.

However, there is increasing evidence about the threats of how and what we eat on our health and the environment. Modern food production is not only responsible for up to 29 percent of human-generated greenhouse emissions and 70 percent of global fresh water use, but is rapidly reducing the genetic ...

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