On March 17 U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-KS, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will extend the initial 45-day comment period for stakeholders to comment on the “Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee” by an additional 30 days. Sen. Moran recently joined 29 of his Senate colleagues in calling on USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell to issue an extension. Additionally, the senators requested that USDA and HHS stay within statutory guidelines, consider the most relevant nutrition scientific literature, and reject the committee’s inconsistent conclusions and recommendations regarding the role of lean red meat in a healthy diet.

“I am pleased USDA heeded our call for an extension of the comment period to make certain stakeholders have enough time to review and comment on the lengthy report,” Sen. Moran said. “There are real questions about whether the new set of Dietary Guidelines will be based on sound nutritional science, including the extensive, peer-reviewed literature that shows lean red meat is a part of a healthy diet. USDA and HHS should also reject portions of the advisory report that delve into issues well beyond the purview or expertise of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, such as the issue of environmental sustainability.”

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which form the basis of federal nutrition policy, are reviewed every five years. A recent advisory committee report recommending what foods should be included in the new guidelines leaves lean red meat out of what it considers to be a healthy diet. This greatly concerns dietitians who support consumption of lean red meat and is alarming to livestock producers.

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