The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report highlights the important role that animal products play in ensuring sufficient protein and other nutrients in the American diet.

On Aug. 13, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) submitted comments to USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) about this report that will be used to inform officials as they develop the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

“Pork products are one of the most widely consumed and enjoyed sources of protein in the U.S. diet, and the report highlights the fact that lean meats—such as most cuts and many preparations of pork—can make positive contributions to health,” NPPC wrote.

As the 2020 dietary guidelines are being finalized, NPPC asked the agencies to consider three main issues:
1) “Red and processed meats” are a diverse product group that should not be over-generalized
2) Recommendations concerning consumption of “red and processed meats” from the report be carefully translated
3) Requested no action be taken on the report’s suggestion that USDA and HHS “support efforts to consider the Dietary Guidelines in relation to sustainability of the food system.”

“We encourage your agencies to use caution when making broad and generic dietary recommendations about ‘red and processed meats.’ This is simply too diverse, and important, a group of foods to generalize and is one of the preeminent—and healthy—sources of protein in the American diet. The American public must remain confident that they can continue to consume and enjoy pork products as part of a healthy eating pattern,” NPPC wrote.

Consumer health is a key consideration in producing meat and poultry products, explained Susan Backus, Meat Institute Vice President of Regulatory and Scientific Programs, in written comments to USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

“Meat and poultry products play an important role in a healthy, well-balanced diet and the industry is committed to offering diverse nutritional products. Including meat and poultry in the diet allows consumers to more easily fulfill their essential amino acid and nutrient requirements. Dietary guidance should be practical, affordable, and attainable, and should measurably improve the health of Americans as part of healthy dietary patterns,” Backus wrote.

Farm Journal’s Pork | Josep Casanovas and Josep Gasa | August