The official public comment period may be open for another month on the report that could serve as a blueprint for the next set of dietary guidelines, but concerned stakeholders aren’t waiting until the eleventh hour to weigh in on the topic. This week a group of 71 lawmakers voiced their concerns to USDA and HHS, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is asking stakeholders to weigh in on the topic via social media with a campaign to showcase that #BeefsOnMyPlate.

The DGAC’s report concluded that a healthy dietary pattern is higher in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, legumes, and nuts, moderate in alcohol (for adults), lower in red and processed meat, and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, and refined grains. Then, in a footnote, the committee noted that in certain dietary patterns lean meats can be a party of a healthy diet.

Led by Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), the lawmakers sent a letter to USDA and HHS saying they were disappointed with certain recommendations in the report and specifically highlight the committee’s recommendation on red meat, saying it “directly contradicts years of peer reviewed scientific literature on the benefits of lean red meat as a high quality source of protein in a healthy diet.”

They also reminded USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell that conflicting dietary information is more likely to confuse consumers about how to build a healthy diet. Hartzler, who spent 11 years teaching high school students how to follow healthy diets as a family and consumer sciences teacher, said the red meat recommendation is not only a cause of concern for her but also calls into question the validity of the whole report and urged the Secretaries to base the final recommendations on “the most current and irrefutable nutritional science.”

While NCBA is encouraging its members to submit official comments on the report, the organization is also hoping to make its voice heard through social media channels with its #BeefsOnMyPlate campaign. The group is encouraging social media users to post pictures of their beefy meals using the hashtag #BeefsOnMyPlate.

NCBA’s @BeltwayBeef kicked off the campaign with the following tweet:  “Show @SecBurwell and @USDA your #BeefsOnMyPlate photos to keep lean beef a part of #DietaryGuidelines.”

“A one-sized-fits-all approach to a diet doesn’t work, but we know beef fits into wide a range of healthy diets because of its versatility,” said Shalene McNeill, registered dietitian and nutrition scientist with NCBA.

Current NCBA President and Wyoming rancher Philip Ellis says this is a great opportunity to show that beef can fit into a healthy and “calorie-conscious diet.”

“It’s unfortunate that the Advisory Committee failed to review all the science that undoubtedly shows the value of lean meat in the healthy diet,” said Ellis. “But the Secretaries have the opportunity to pick up where the Committee fell short and finish the scientific review of red meat’s role in a healthy diet to re-instate the 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommendation on lean meat. Let’s post our pictures and show them a variety of healthy diets that include lean beef.”

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