“Science must drive policy that feeds people all over the world, so we applaud the advisory board for its notable contributions to public health. We appreciate the breadth and depth of knowledge that they bring to the important process of refining and reviewing nutrition guidelines.

“We are, however, concerned that the report’s lengthy foray into sustainability issues goes well beyond both the group’s expertise and its clearly defined mission. Its conclusions would have benefitted from the contributions of agronomists, animal scientists, ecologists and others with deeper expertise in agriculture and sustainability.

“The report makes many good observations about the need for a balanced diet, but we are troubled that it also repeats alarmist and unsubstantiated assertions about land use first promulgated by a UN agency with scant agricultural understanding. These assertions contradict the views of the UN’s own agricultural experts and fly in the face of decades of scientific consensus. The overall guidelines also ignore easier and more effective ways ordinary Americans can reduce their carbon footprints.

“We suspect the report’s unrealistically pessimistic view of sustainability colors its views regarding meat in the American diet. Instead of supporting the health benefits of lean meat consumption — as previous advisory committees have consistently done — the authors focus only on a diet “higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meat.”

“American farmers and ranchers pay close attention to their actions because that’s good for the environment and their own welfare, too. We stand ready to help the administration make sure the world’s most qualified experts are present when decisions affecting the food supply are made.”