WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In what Columbia University Professor and Director of the Earth Institute Jeffrey Sachs, in speaking with My Plate, My Planet, called a "shameful abnegation of political responsibility," the secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and of Health & Human Services released a blog arguing sustainability should not be a consideration in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs).
Sachs, a Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said in response to the blog, "The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee did the U.S. and the world an enormous service through its scientifically rigorous, thoughtful, and vital exploration of the linkages of nutrition and the environment. This is a key breakthrough in this year's report, one that is already providing important guidance and insights for governments and scientists around the world."
Sachs continued, "In our new age of sustainable development, ushered in by the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), scientific analysis that links human health and the physical environment should be the standard of excellence in the coming years. For U.S. Government officials to suggest that this chapter should be deleted would be to argue for deleting science itself; a shameful abnegation of political responsibility in the face of lobbying pressure. Secretaries Burwell and Vilsack will be remembered for whether they stand up for science or for corporate lobbies."
Additionally, Harvard Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition Dr. Walter Willett notes, "Sadly, Secretaries Vilsack and Burwell have invoked censorship on a grand scale, again demonstrating the power of the meat industry to distort national policies and priorities. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee wisely considered the environmental impacts of food production because they were asked to make recommendations that would support both health and food security. Neither health nor food security are possible without a sustainable food supply. Because climate change is accelerating and is already having a multitude of adverse effects, and the footprint of our current food system is massive, we urgently need to create a national food supply that is both healthy and sustainable. For the sake of future generations, we cannot ignore this."
While acknowledging issues of sustainability are "critically important," The USDA and HHS secretaries emphasized "...we do not believe that the 2015 DGAs are the appropriate vehicle for this important policy conversation about sustainability."
A legal review supported by My Plate, My Planet shows concerns about sustainability and environmental impacts are clearly within the scope of the law.
The review also found the guiding principles of the 2010 DGAs -- which were approved by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack -- called upon the nation to: "Develop and expand safe, effective, and sustainable agriculture and aquaculture practices to ensure availability of recommended amounts of healthy foods to all segments of the population." This is clear evidence the current call for sustainability is an expanded version of what Secretary Vilsack endorsed five years ago.
My Plate, My Planet also commissioned an analysis of an unprecedented 29,000 public comments on the 2015 Scientific Report's recommendations on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans which reveals overwhelming support for including sustainability considerations in national dietary policy. Data analytics firm Quid analyzed a representative sample of the comments and found 75% of them supported sustainability and nutrition recommendations.
My Plate, My Planet supports the scientific recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee in promoting both human health and environmental sustainability in America's official dietary policy.
Media Contact: Lindsay San Giacomo, 917-327-4919, [email protected]
SOURCE My Plate, My Planet