March 24, 2015

New Dietary Guidelines Should Keep Sustainability on the Menu

Christine Grillo

Christine Grillo

Contributing Writer

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Jillian Fry testifying about the Dietary Guidelines, March 24, 2015.

Jillian Fry testifying about the Dietary Guidelines, Bethesda, Md., March 24, 2015.

MARCH 24, 2015, Bethesda, Md.—This morning Jillian Fry, a project director at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF), gave public testimony about the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC). This is the first time in history that the DGAC has included sustainability considerations in its recommendations. The testimony is being heard today by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which oversee the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, known recently as MyPlate and updated every five years. (Here’s a blogpost about the debate over sustainability in the Guidelines.)

During her three-minute testimony, Fry made several points concerning sustainability and diet. On diet she said, “Producing the food we eat uses massive amounts of limited resources, contributes to climate change … even small changes towards more plant-based diets can make a big difference.” Regarding animal products, she said, “Thirty-five percent of global crops are grown for animal feed, and several expert panels around the world have called for increasing the proportion of crops grown that directly feed humans to improve food security.” To read Jillian Fry’s full public testimony, click here.

In addition to providing public testimony, CLF and Friends of the Earth join more than 100 organizations and individuals in signing an open letter to the Obama administration urging support for sustainability in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines. The letter is featured in a full-page advertisement today in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Politico. Some of the signatories include Greenpeace, Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, NRDC, WK Kellogg Foundation, Humane Society, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Union of Concerned Scientists, National WIC Association, Farmworker Association of Florida, Mississippi Association of Cooperatives, and Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society. James Cameron, Kathleen Merrigan, Former Assistant Secretary of USDA, Chef Tom Colicchio, Suzy Amis Cameron, Frances Moore Lappé, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Dr. Dean Ornish, Maria Rodale, and Marion Nestle are among more than 30 prominent individuals signing onto the ad.

U.S. citizens can urge the HHS and USDA to keep sustainability in the Guidelines by visiting the new My Plate, My Planet website. This site enables anyone to submit comments directly to health.gov. The comment period is open until May 8, 2015.

To read more about what the 2015 DGAC says about sustainability and a healthy diet, check out our CLF Fact Sheet. To read Jillian Fry’s full public testimony, click here.

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