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Secretaries Vilsack and Burwell testify before the House Agriculture Committee on the development of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

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Washington, October 7, 2015 | comments

Washington, D.C. - The House Agriculture Committee held a public hearing today with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell to review the development of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA).

Earlier this year, Chairman Conaway sent a letter, along with Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC), to Secretary Vilsack and Secretary Burwell raising concerns about recommendations received from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC). Conaway also signed on to a letter in March authored by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) expressing similar concerns. Most recently, Conaway was joined by Ranking Member Colin Peterson (D-MN) in May seeking details from USDA and HHS on their plans for reviewing the more than 29,000 public comments that were received.

Chairman Conaway said, “The federal dietary guidelines directly affect each and every American and should be based on sound, consistent, and irrefutable science. I appreciate Secretary Vilsack and Secretary Burwell for making this issue a priority, but I remain concerned that the advisory committee went far beyond its scope when advising on issues such as food sustainability and tax policy – areas in which the committee does not have expertise, evidence, or charter. Consumers should be able to trust the science behind DGA without fear of political or personal bias influencing each recommendation. After all, these guidelines are intended to help Americans make educated food purchasing decisions and live a healthy lifestyle. 

“After hearing the secretaries acknowledge concern with regard to the DGAC exceeding their scope, I believe we can work together to get back on track and instill confidence in the process. I appreciate the secretaries for working with the Agriculture Committee to achieve what I hope will be a positive outcome that accomplishes the stated goals of DGA and preserves the integrity of the system.”


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