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    GMA, AFFI Weigh in on Dietary Guidelines Hearing

    USDA, HHS Secs testify

    Two of the industry's leading trade associations weighed in on the House Agriculture Committee's public hearing at which USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Sylvia Burwell testified for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The hearings are part of the latest national dietary guidelines that are updated every five years, with 2015's version due to be released by year's end.

    Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), said:

    "It is imperative that USDA and HHS develop science-based dietary guidelines that are practical, affordable and achievable. The federal dietary guidelines form the foundation for national nutrition policy and must be based on sound nutrition science. The credibility of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans may be damaged if some of those guidelines fail to have a sufficient scientific basis."

    Bailey continued: “GMA appreciates the recent announcement by USDA and HHS that the dietary guidelines will not include sustainability recommendations because that area is outside the scope of the guidelines. However, we remain concerned that some of the recommendations made earlier this year by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) are not based on the best available science, particularly in the areas of sugars, sodium, lean/processed meats, and caffeine."

    For its part, the American Frozen Food Institute's (AFFI) interim President Joseph Clayton also commended the house ag committee for ensuring the process of establishing the 2015 dietary guidelines and its role in providing consumers with sound dietary and nutrition guidance supported by the strongest possible and best available science.

    In light of their broad reach, Clayton said it is of paramount importance that their recommendations be thoughtfully considered. For example, the Dietary Guidelines should recognize the role of all forms of fruits and vegetables – frozen, fresh, canned and dried – in achieving the recommended healthy dietary pattern.

    “As confirmed by Frozen Food Foundation-commissioned nutritional studies conducted by the Universities of Georgia (UGA) and California-Davis (UC Davis), frozen fruits and vegetables are as rich in nutrients, and often more so, than fresh-stored produce.  Freezing is simply nature’s pause button; it’s a natural way to lock in the freshness and nutrition of fruits and vegetables. 

    “We look forward to working with Congress, USDA and HHS on the important role served by the DGAs in informing the development of all federal food assistance and nutrition education programs, as well as aiding Americans to make informed choices about the foods and beverages they consume,” added Clayton.

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