Almanac

Viewpoint - June 22, 2011

Letter: New dietary logo

The Department of Agriculture's new MyPlate dietary logo illustrates graphically the shrinking role of meat and dairy products in our national diet. It replaces meat with a tofu loaf, and shunts dairy off the plate.

The new logo provides a fitting conclusion to a 30-year record of the Dietary Guidelines recommending replacement of animal products and other fatty foods in our diet with vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains (see health.gov/dietaryguidelines).

The recommendations reflect widespread concern with the growing epidemic of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other killer diseases.

There is an historic reason why health authorities have not taken a stronger stand against meat and dairy, as they did with tobacco products three decades ago.

In 1977, the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs published Dietary Goals for the United States, recommending reduced meat consumption. The meat industry forced the committee to destroy all copies of the report and to remove the offending recommendation from a new version. It then abolished the committee, voted Chairman George McGovern out of office, and taught government bureaucrats never to challenge meat consumption again.

Malcolm Davidson, Encinal Avenue, Menlo Park

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