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Act requires officials to review how US dietary guidelines are formulated

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h6930 (Published 23 December 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6930
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

A rider attached to the appropriations bill signed into law by President Barack Obama on 18 December requires US officials to conduct a thorough review into how dietary guidelines for the United States are drawn up.

The provision was inserted into the 2200 page Omnibus Appropriations Act in response to charges that the expert advisory panel that helped draw up the new edition of the 2015 US dietary guidelines had ignored research that contradicted its conclusions and had overstepped its brief by commenting on tax and environmental policy.

The legislation denies funding for the next edition of the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, slated for 2020, unless the secretary of agriculture and the secretary of health and human services ensure that revisions of any dietary or nutritional information are “based on significant scientific agreement” and are “limited in scope to nutritional and dietary information.”

The legislation also requires that the secretary of agriculture engage the National Academy of Medicine to conduct a “comprehensive study of the entire process” used to establish the advisory panel, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture are mandated by Congress to publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans at least every five years. The final guidelines …

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