nutrition policy

Dietary Guidelines for Americans: The Basics and Key Takeaways from the Second Meeting

Dietary Guidelines for Americans: The Basics and Key Takeaways from the Second Meeting

 

On July 10th and 11th, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Advisory Committee met for their second public meeting in Washington, DC. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) are a set of guidelines published jointly by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). You’re probably wondering so why should the average consumer care about these guidelines? How in the world do these scientific recommendations affect me and my family? Well, quite a bit actually!

Child Nutrition Reauthorization: An Incredible Opportunity for Kids, Families, Communities, and Schools

Child Nutrition Reauthorization: An Incredible Opportunity for Kids, Families, Communities, and Schools

In the world of food policy and nutrition there are always pieces of legislation that capture our attention a little more than others. Recently, conversations began about Child Nutrition Reauthorization, a large piece of legislation that authorizes programs such as the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, Summer Feeding Programs, and the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). If you are a school nutrition director, or you work in the public health nutrition space, Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) is something you are all too familiar with.

What the Hormel Lawsuit Taught us About the "Natural" Food Label

What the Hormel Lawsuit Taught us About the "Natural" Food Label

In June 2016, the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), a non-profit law organization that aims to protect the rights and advance the interests of animals through the legal system, filed a lawsuit alleging that Hormel was misleading consumers through its “Natural Choice” product line of lunch meats and bacon. They filed the suit stating that it was in violation of the DC Consumer Protection Procedures Act. The basis of the lawsuit was that the ALDF alleged that Hormel used the “natural” food label claim although the products contain additives, hormones, antibiotics, and artificial preservatives.

Surveys and research conducted over the last few years have found one thing in common: consumers don’t understand what “natural” means when they see this claim on food labels and packaging. In 2014, a survey conducted by Consumer Reports of over 1,000 people found that 66% think they term “natural” means the food item has no artificial ingredients, pesticides, or genetically modified organisms. In addition to the Consumer Reports survey, research has also shown that 47% of American consumers actively look for natural products and 65% consider natural products as “better.” Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but natural doesn’t mean the product is better, and it doesn’t mean that the product is pesticide or GMO-free.

The FDA is Reforming their Role in Dietary Supplement Oversight.. Finally!

The FDA is Reforming their Role in Dietary Supplement Oversight.. Finally!

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it plans to overhaul regulations for the $50 billion a year dietary supplement industry. The FDA is planning much needed updates to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) which passed in 1994. Alongside this announcement, the FDA sent advisory and warning letters to supplement companies that were selling products with illegal claims or that contained unapproved drugs. Some companies that received the advisory and warning letters were claiming that their products prevented, treated or cured Alzheimer’s disease and a number of other serious diseases and health conditions. According to the press release, “three out of every four American consumers take a dietary supplement on a regular basis”. The overhaul of the 25-year-old Act is music to this public health dietitian’s ears!