In mid-December, the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), issued the latest version of the dietary guidelines and submitted them for public comment. The guidelines make some significant changes, reducing added sugar to no more than 10 percent of daily calories and urging the consumption of more fruits and vegetables and much less meat. The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) calls the removal of lean meat from a healthy diet arbitrary and capricious.

“The committee’s removal of nutrient-dense lean meat from a healthy dietary pattern is stunning,” says NAMI President and CEO Barry Carpenter. “The change was made behind closed doors during a lunch break at the final December 15 meeting. Actions made in haste behind closed doors are not rooted in science and do not make good public policy.”

Carpenter adds the advisory committee possessed plenty of scientific evidence supporting red and processed meat as part of a healthy dietary pattern. HHS and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have jointly published the guidelines every five years since 1980.