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Committee Report – Nutrition – John Miller/Sherri Lehman

January 5, 2012

Ensuring that Federal Feeding Programs follow the Dietary Guidelines
In April, NAMA submitted comments in response to USDA’s proposed school meal standards rule, citing the need for a uniform definition of “whole grain” before any requirements are mandated, and urged any grain requirements be based on the Dietary Guidelines. NAMA members reiterated this position to lawmakers in May at the Leadership Meeting.  In a victory for millers and bakers, language in the FY 12A Agriculture Appropriations bill passed in December restricts funds to USDA if they impose any whole grain requirement for school meals without first defining “whole grain”, and prohibits implementing sodium reduction targets beyond the two-year target identified in USDA’s proposed updated standards.  The bill protects efforts to serve pizza in the school lunch program by barring USDA from requiring a tougher standard for tomato paste that would have eliminated pizza in schools.  The bill also supports the science based Dietary Guidelines by stopping USDA efforts to impose a one-cup-per-week limit on white potatoes in school meals.  The USDA proposal to limit potatoes was not in line with the Dietary Guidelines — the gold standard for nutrition policy.

Advertising Restrictions Proposed that would impact grain based foods
NAMA President Mary Waters testified at a federal forum in May and urged the  Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children: (IWG), a four agency working group composed of the  Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Department of Agriculture to withdrawn the flawed guidelines because grain foods were not on the list of foods that provided a ‘meaningful contribution’ to the health of children.

Industry representatives testified on behalf of NAMA about the IWG proposal last month at a subcommittee hearing of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Statements provided by industry argued the proposals are overly broad and are a direct contradiction to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

As a result of the many comments received from various stakeholders, the IWG said it is considering significant revisions to its initial proposal. The recently passed Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of 2012 includes language on the IWG which states “None of the funds made available in this Act may be used by the Federal Trade Commission to complete the draft report entitled “Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children: Preliminary Proposed Principles to Guide Industry Self-Regulatory Efforts” unless the IWG complies with Executive Order 13563, which has to do with a cost analysis on the impacted industries.

New Anti-bread Diet Book
NAMA recently learned of a new fad diet book titled “Bread is the Devil.”  The author is Heather Bauer, a registered dietitian and founder of nu-train, an online healthy eating /weight loss program.  According to the book’s description, the author promises to identify the top ten Diet Devils that challenge healthy eating.  Despite the title, and “devil toast” on the book’s cover, it doesn’t appear that bread is the primary focus of the plan.  Rather, mindless eating is one of the targeted behaviors and happens to be the hook she uses to sell the diet.  The book is scheduled for release in early January.  NAMA will work with the Grain Foods Foundation and other members of the grain chain to provide accurate information to consumers on the nutritional benefits of grain based products.

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