North American Meat Institute Provides Oral Comments on the Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

WASHINGTON, DC – On behalf of the members of the North American Meat Institute (Meat Institute), Vice President of Regulatory and Scientific Programs Susan Backus provided comment during the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services’ Virtual Meeting on the Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

“The benefits of meat and poultry consumption as part of healthy, balanced dietary patterns cannot be overstated, especially in vulnerable population groups,” Backus said.

Backus expressed concern about the lack of clarity and inconsistencies in the Scientific Report’s conclusions regarding meat and poultry intake.

“The Report notes that protein foods are generally consumed in the range of recommended amounts,” said Backus, “Yet, there are certain populations where specific nutrients and components pose special public health challenges, likeadolescent girls and older adults who have low intakes of protein and vitamin B12, respectively.

“These findings, combined with the dietary patterns’ conclusions that healthy patterns are ‘lower’ in red and processed meats are confusing and provide mixed messages.

“USDA and HHS have the opportunity to translate the Report’s findings into clear, concise language that demonstrates the role meat and poultry can play in healthy dietary patterns when consumed in recommended amounts.”

Ms. Backus’ also stated that the meat and poultry industry provides diverse products to meet consumers’ preferences and expectations.

“Across the life span, nutrient needs vary widely due to each individual’s disease status, age, preferences, and there are unprocessed and processed meat and poultry products available to meet everyone’s individual nutrient and lifestyle needs,” said Backus. 

Backus went on to say the Guidelines should be practical, affordable, and achievable. 

“This commonsense approach incorporates a broad range of foods to meet nutrition needs over time and allows dietary choices based on taste and cultural preferences, health and economic status, and food availability,” Backus said. 

Additional insights on the Scientific Report will be included in the Meat Institute’s written comments to be submitted Thursday, August 13, 2020.

The North American Meat Institute is the leading voice for the meat and poultry industry.  The Meat Institute’s members process the vast majority of U.S. beef, pork, lamb, and poultry, as well as manufacture the equipment and ingredients needed to produce the safest and highest quality meat and poultry products.