In case you weren’t paying attention to Senator Thune’s column this week, it brought up an early alarm that many ag State representatives are feeling over the Obama administration new dietary guidelines which seem to be going on the attack against the Beef industry:
Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services review the dietary guidelines for American food consumption. A recent advisory committee report recommends to the agencies what should be included in the new dietary guidelines. The nearly 600-page report leaves lean red meat out of what it considers to be a healthy diet, which is not only a great concern to dietitians who support consumption of lean red meat but is also concerning for the South Dakota livestock industry.
This isn’t the first time the Obama administration has promoted limiting meat consumption. As you may recall, in 2012, USDA sent an in-house newsletter encouraging employees to participate in “Meatless Mondays” while dining in USDA cafeterias. The newsletter went on to attack the production of meat in the U.S., saying that meat production has “a large environmental impact,” and that an employee should “help yourself and the environment” by not eating meat.
It is hard to believe that the very agency tasked with promoting agriculture would encourage people not to eat meat.
Read it here. And it’s not just Senator Thune. In a story yesterday at foxnews.com, they had a broad national picture of what the dietary guidelines mean to the country’s beef producers:
The report, which is open for public comment for 45 days, will be used by the government not only to mold dietary guidelines but also used as the basis for government food assistance programs as well as school lunch programs, worth an estimated $16 billion annually.
The North American Meat Institute slammed the report, calling it “flawed” and “nonsensical.” Members of the meat industry as well as those from soda makers, say the panel has gone “beyond its scope.”
Dr. Richard Thorpe, a Texas physician and rancher, told FoxNews.com that he is disappointed in the panel’s recommendations and said “it’s absurd the committee would suggest the reduction of meat, or red meat, in the American diet.”
Part of the problem, Thorpe says, is that the government is telling Americans they should also consider the sustainability of their food. That, for some, translates to eating less meat and loading up on vegetables and plants.
“Legumes should be a mainstay of an American diet?” Thorpe said, adding that it would take a wheelbarrow full of spinach to meet the same amount of iron in a serving of beef. He added that iron found in beef is not equal to iron in spinach, and that beef’s iron is more absorbable.
According to a June 2014 study in the journal Climatic Change, the average meat-eater in the United States is responsible for almost twice as much global warming as the average vegetarian and almost tripled that of the average vegan.
If you want to read the report for yourself, or better yet offer comment and ask why they’re attacking the consumption of meet by the Obama Administration, here’s the pertinent information from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion:
As announced in the Federal Register [PDF – 181KB], the “Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee” is now available. Individuals are encouraged to submit written comments to the federal government on the Advisory Report. Written comments will be accepted online through midnight E.D.T. on April 8, 2015.
HHS and USDA will host a public oral comment meeting on March 24, 2015. Meeting registration will open on or around March 9, 2015.
If you don’t want them to kill the beef industry, and increase the price of hamburger even more than the record price increases being experienced for beef because of shortages, take a minute, and give them your written comments.
Otherwise, if you’re so inclined, the Public Oral testimony will be held in Bethesda Maryland, which is about 1300 files as the crow flies from Pierre. (I’d encourage our Representatives in Washington to press that they vet this report in the heartland as well as the beltway.)