U.S. group urges replacing experts on diet advisory panel

September 3, 2003 in Nutrition Topics in the News

U.S. group urges replacing experts on diet advisory panel

The Bush administration should remove seven of the 13 experts named to revise America's Dietary Guidelines because of their close ties to the food industry, a consumer group said last week.

Published every five years since 1980, the guidelines summarize scientific consensus on a healthful diet. The current version encourages Americans to be physically active, to eat a variety of grains, fruits and vegetables and to limit fat, sugar and salt.

Last week, the administration took the first step toward the 2005 edition by appointing members to its Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The guidelines, which form the basis of the well-known food pyramid on many package labels, have long been a battleground between the U.S. food industry and health experts.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest said it was concerned about seven members who have received research and consulting money from the food and drug industries. "At a time of great concern over obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases, the extent of those biases should have disqualified them from membership on such an important committee," said Michael Jacobson, executive director of the consumer group.

Consumer advocates also urged the administration to fully disclose all members' corporate affiliations.

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