The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) submitted comments to USDA and HHS questioning the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s (DGAC) recommendations and what the institute called an “inconsistent review of nutrition evidence.”
NAMI’s comments emphasized the nutrition benefits of meat and poultry products, including red and processed meats, which it says should be a foundation of government nutrition policy. The institute was also critical of lean meat’s relegation to mere footnote status in the DGAC report.
“Lean meat’s inclusion in a healthy dietary pattern is supported by the scientific evidence demonstrating its high nutritional value, and the report’s handling of lean meat represents a sharp, unsubstantiated departure from findings presented in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. A review of scientific research reveals that the DGAC’s findings on lean meat conflict with the preponderance of the evidence, which affirms the healthful role lean meat and poultry, including red and processed meats, play in dietary patterns,” the comments state.
NAMI also highlighted the benefits of red and processed meats, noting that 17 of the 25 most popular cuts of beef and seven pork cuts meet the definition of lean by USDA and many lean, lower in saturated fat and lower sodium processed meats can be purchased.
In terms of scientific inconsistencies, the institute took issue with the way science was evaluated by the DGAC. NAMI said more than 70 percent of the recommendations were not based on the reviews of the Nutritional Evidence Library (NEL), which 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.
The inconsistencies were particularly glaring in the DGAC’s evaluation of red and processed meats.
“The scientific evidence did not fit the bias of the DGAC, which instead recommended against including red and processed meat as components of a healthy diet. The DGAC reinterpreted the Mediterranean diet to be more “healthy” and based on the description “healthy” does not include the consumption of red and processed meats. Because the recommendation to limit intake of red and processed meat is not based on robust scientific evidence, HHS and USDA should not develop dietary guidance recommending limiting the consumption of red and processed meats,” the comments say.
A copy of the comments is available here.