Last month a panel of nutrition experts generated controversy in some quarters when it explicitly linked environmental health with human health by recommending that the nation’s dietary guidelines consider environmental sustainability. The non-binding recommendations are open to public comment, and then will be decided upon by the USDA and Health and Human Services.
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee expressed concern about the effect of the American diet on the environment, including air and water quality, and the release of too many greenhouse gas emissions
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has now said that he feels that sustainability issues fall outside the scope of the dietary guidelines.
“I read the actual law,” Mr. Vilsack said. “And what I read …was that our job ultimately is to formulate dietary and nutrition guidelines. And I emphasize dietary and nutrition because that’s what the law says. I think it’s my responsibility to follow the law.”
The meat industry in particular has taken umbrage with the proposed dietary guidelines.