World News 20/02/2014

Petition to eemove the USDA from being the Agency responsible for issuing American dietary guidelines

A petition has been started on the White House website asking the Obama Administration to remove the USDA from being the agency responsible for issuing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). The petition states that the “USDA is not capable of handling this mission due to conflict of interest related to its own mission, vision statement and continued influence of the food industry in dietary recommendations.”

Over the past 30 years the prevalence of Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, and Alzheimer’s has increased dramatically (Obesity was 23% in late 80’s to 36% in 2009-2010 [1]). The guidelines, which have been released every five years since 1980, have remained fairly consistent. Overall, they have recommended increased grain consumption, the adoption of a low-fat diet (decreased saturated fat intake) and reduced cholesterol intake. The petition states “It is evident that the current dietary recommendations have not worked and have even exacerbated the situation.”

The petition can be found here:

Luise Light, former USDA Director of Dietary Guidance and Nutrition Education Research in the 1980’s, recalled the conflict surrounding the USDA’s dual-hatted role in a 2004 article titled “A Fatally Flawed Food Guide”. The team’s Food Pyramid recommendation for fresh fruits and vegetables was reduced while grain was increased from 3-4 to 6-11 servings. Her team had placed refined products and other low-nutrient foods (sugar and fat laden) at the peak of the pyramid only to find in the “revised” Food Guide that they were now part of the Pyramid’s base [2].

The petition’s creator, Bill Murrin of, said: “Those subsidizing and promoting our agricultural products should not also be responsible for providing our dietary recommendations. Our recommendations should come from an agency rooted in the scientific community, human biochemistry, clinical research and evidence, not deep-rooted industry ties and campaign contributions [3].

“People are getting sicker and becoming more obese while largely following the guidance provided by the government over the last few decades. It is time for something to change and accept that we have a public health crisis on our hands.”


1. Fryar C., Carroll, M., and Ogden C. (2012) “Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity, and Extreme Obesity Among Adults: United States, Trends 1960–1962 Through 2009–2010” [online] [Accessed on: 14 Feb. 2014]

2. Light L. (2004) “A Fatally Flawed Food Guide” [online] [Accessed on: 14 Feb. 2014]

3. Watzman, N. (2014) “Crop Subsidies kept secret by Congress in new farm bill” [online] [Accessed on: 14 Feb. 2014]

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