The Conversation

The Food Police Are Back

This Friday (3/14) the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) will hold it's third meeting.  The purpose?  To "encourage Americans to focus on eating a healthful diet — one that focuses on foods and beverages that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight, promote health, and prevent disease. A healthy diet can reduce the risk of major chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and some cancers."

The guidelines also influence several government programs so this is not an issue of merely "educating" the public, but the guidelines determine food purchasing decisions for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and WIC (the Women Infants and Children program.)  Taxpayers are on the hook for decisions made by the DGAC. 

These guidelines translate into big money for any industry jockeying for a seal of nutritional approval from the committee. 

Who is making these decisions? Elizabeth Harrington over at Free Beacon has the scoop: 

During DGAC’s second meeting on Jan. 13, Kate Clancy, a food systems consultant and Senior Fellow in the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Minnesota, was brought to speak on “sustainability.”

“After 30 years of waiting, the fact that this committee is addressing sustainability issues brings me a lot of pleasure,” she began. Clancy went on to advocate that Americans should become vegetarians in order to achieve sustainability in the face of “climate change.”

“What pattern of eating best contributes to food security and the sustainability of land air and water?” Clancy asked. “The simple answer is a plant-based diet.”

And here is another participant:

Following the talk, Dr. Miriam Nelson, a member of the DGAC committee, thanked Clancy for her “really, really wonderful presentation.”

“I think the good news here, in my mind, is that when we look at actually the current dietary guidelines—with the exception of fish, because I think fish is an issue—really we are talking about eating more plants, fewer animals,” she said.

Nelson is DGAC’s work group lead for “Environmental Determinants of Food, Diet, and Health.” She said eating less meat could lower Americans’ carbon footprint.

Nelson is a nutrition professor at Tufts University and founder of the “Strong Women Initiative,” which seeks to drive “social change by empowering women to be agents of change in the area of nutrition, physical activity, and obesity prevention.”

So sit tight taxpayers, the new guidelines will be released in 2015. In the meantime, enjoy your meat while you can. It isn't out of the realm of possibility that someday soon your ribeye might be slapped with a "dietary" tax. 


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