waterloo packaging red meatThe North American Meat Institute (NAMI) is advocating for better scientific evidence to be the foundation of new nutrition policies after it says a review of the science used by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee revealed more than 70 percent of the recommendations were not based on reviews of USDA’s Nutritional Evidence Library (NEL).

According to NAMI, “the NEL is designed to reduce bias in scientific analysis by serving as a primary resource to inform the committee about the best available scientific research and answer important food and nutrition-related questions.”

NAMI Vice President of Scientific Affairs Betsy Booren delivered comments to USDA and HHS today that argued red and processed meats, are important to the American diet.

“Lean meat and poultry products, which can include red and processed meats, should be part of a healthy dietary pattern because they are nutrient dense proteins that are necessary for a healthy life. These products provide Americans a simple, direct, and balanced dietary source of all essential amino acids and are rich sources of micronutrients such as iron, selenium, Vitamins A, B12, and folic acid. While it is common today for food processors to add protein, our products are the obvious and natural protein choice for most Americans,” Booren said. “It is incumbent on HHS and USDA to develop nutrition policy based on recommendations derived by the NEL. To do otherwise implies policy is being developed under a shroud of bias.”

Booren was also critical of the way she said the DGAC exceeded the scope of its design and expertise and made recommendations relating to sustainability, an expertise she said the members are not fluent in.

 The oral comments at the hearing are available here