WASHINGTON —Cary Frye, Senior Vice President for Regulatory Affairs with the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) in Washington, D.C., will give oral testimony today to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) at the USDA Children’s Nutrition Research Center in Houston, Texas. This is the fourth meeting of the 2020 DGAC and the first opportunity for IDFA to give oral testimony. IDFA submitted its full set of comments to the DGAC in October 2019.
In the three minutes allotted to her, Ms. Frye will deliver these comments to the DGAC:
Cary Frye: Good afternoon. I am Cary Frye, Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs with the International Dairy Foods Association in Washington, DC. IDFA is a membership organization that represents dairy cooperatives and processors who make the nation’s milk and dairy products.
Good nutrition is the foundation of health and wellness for adults and children alike, and dairy is a crucial part of a healthy diet beginning at a very young age. There is no equal replacement for cow’s milk, which provides significant nutrients including high quality protein, calcium, vitamin D, and potassium, and health benefits including better bone health and lower risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
USDA and HHS continue to hold that American children and adolescents over four years old are not consuming enough dairy to meet the DGAs. Lactose-free and reduced lactose products offer these nutritional benefits to consumers who have sensitives to lactose, and are accessible today at any supermarket, making moot any arguments that the small percentage of people who have sensitivity to lactose must adopt a non-dairy diet. Lactose reduced milk accounts for 5% of milk sales, and virtually all cheeses are naturally lactose free.
Disappointingly, this Committee as well as American consumers have been subjected to misleading claims about dairy products. These false claims have confused and scared the public for years using weak studies based on questionable scientific methods and preyed on the media’s preference for controversy.
Since the last DGAs, three things have occurred that should cement dairy’s place within the DGA. First, a panel of health experts from organizations including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Heart Association recommended children under 5 consume just two beverages—cow’s milk and water. Second, dietary advice in other countries have recommended full-fat dairy products as part of dietary patterns. Third, several meta-analyses indicate there is no negative effect on heart health from consuming dairy, no matter whether those dairy products were full fat or low fat.
IDFA’s members have three requests of this Committee:
- First, dairy should continue as a separate food group in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
- Second, the DGAs must preserve the recommended three servings of dairy per day in dietary patterns to ensure Americans meet their recommended intakes of essential nutrients.
- And, third, the Committee should embrace the evidence showing dairy foods at all fat levels are part of a nutritious diet.
We appreciate the opportunity to provide these oral comments and ask the Committee to consider the science presented in the written comments previously submitted. Thank you.
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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3 million jobs that generate $159 billion in wages and $620 billion in overall economic impact. IDFA’s diverse membership ranges from multinational organizations to single-plant companies, from dairy companies and cooperatives to food retailers and suppliers. Together, they represent 90 percent of the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, and dairy ingredients produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world.