Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blunt in Middle of Fight over Dietary Guidelines, Environmental Concerns

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blunt in Middle of Fight over Dietary Guidelines, Environmental Concerns

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON * Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt is in the middle of a fight over the government's dietary guidelines, which are to be updated this year.

House and Senate spending bills working their way through Congress have recently been altered to include language saying that a government committee's consumption recommendations for Americans went too far afield from the science of nutrition in suggesting that plant-based foods are better for the environment than red meat.

Blunt and at least 28 Senate Republican colleagues, along with Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, have expressed concerns about the recommendations made by the committee of outside advisers, which spent months considering the changes.

Blunt, R-Mo., shepherded a Senate Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill out of committee last month with a rider saying new diet recommendations should be based "only on a preponderance of nutritional and scientific evidence." Two House appropriations bills have similar language.

Blunt and the 29 other senators signed a letter in March challenging the "scientific integrity of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee's recommendations to remove 'lean meat' from the statement of a healthy dietary pattern."

The letter also expressed strong concerns that the committee, comprising outside experts pulled together by the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, was "going beyond its purview of nutrition and health research to include topics such as sustainability."

Blunt said: "The proposed dietary guidelines would expand the advisory committee's scope well beyond the statute and well beyond dietary guidelines and nutrition into unrelated issues, which is not the job of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee."

A coalition of health and nutrition groups disagrees. The group ranging from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the Center for Science in the Public Interest called the language in the appropriations bills "a ham-fisted attempt on the part of powerful special interests, led by the meat industry, to have politicians meddle in the government's nutrition advice. …

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