Send Comments on USDA Dietary Guidelines
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COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret
March 2015


Two weeks ago, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee released their recommendations for the new dietary guidelines for Americans.

This time around, the advisory committee focused on more than just personal nutrition concerns, by factoring in issues related to the environment – specifically, how reducing meat consumption can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The government is now accepting public comments on the proposed 2015 Dietary Guidelines through April 8, 2015. We have provided a sample letter below that you can copy, edit as you like, and submit through the TAKE ACTION button.

Go here to submit comments...*Under Topics, check "Letters to the Secretaries" and "Chapter D.5: Food Sustainability and Safety"


Dear Secretary Vilsack and Secretary Burwell,

As a citizen and a taxpayer concerned about the sustainability of our health and our planet, I applaud the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) for including the major findings represented in Chapter D.5: Food Sustainability and Safety regarding plant-based diets as more health promoting and associated with less environmental impact than the current U.S. diet.

In late 2014, the international affairs think-tank Chatham House, released a study which concluded that it is unlikely global temperature rises can be kept below two degrees Celsius without a radical shift in global meat and dairy consumption. However, they found that there is a striking lack of efforts to reduce consumption of meat and dairy products due to not least, government’s fear of backlash to pursue policies that would shift consumer behavior. The absence of attention afforded to the issue among policy-makers contributes to a lack of research on how best to reduce meat and dairy consumption, which the health of our nation and our planet can no longer afford.

The data presented in the Chatham House study also revealed a major awareness gap about the livestock industry’s contribution to the climate change. They found that compared with other sectors, the public’s recognition of the livestock sector as a significant contributor to a warming planet was markedly low. They noted that consumers with a higher level of awareness were “more likely to indicate willingness to reduce their meat and dairy consumption for climate objectives.” Closing the awareness gap is therefore likely to be an important precondition for behavior change.

Americans and programs across the United States rely on the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recommendations for proper guidance when making food choices. These guidelines are the first step towards a more empowered and healthy, nation and planet.

In addition to embracing the DGAC recommendations, I respectfully request that the following provisions be heavily considered when finalizing the report:

· While the DGAC sites the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) for identifying the Mediterranean diet as an example of a sustainable diet, their own findings have shown that most of the world's fisheries have reached their maximum potential for capture, with the majority of stocks being fully exploited. In addition, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) states that fish consumption advisories for methylmercury now account for more than three-quarters of all fish consumption advisories in the United States.

· Massive amounts of critical irrigated surface and ground water is used in the production of meat and dairy, which diverts scarce water resources and accelerates the rapid depletion of underground aquifers. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 1,000 gallons of water are required to produce just one gallon of milk. Nut and soy based milks have been found to be much less-water intensive than dairy based products, more heath promoting and should be advertised as a main form of calcium in combination with plants.

In 2014, Cone Communications Food Issues Trend Tracker revealed Americans are willing to sacrifice variety and dollars in order to eat more consciously. Although family satisfaction is the primary driver (97%), health and nutrition (93%) and sustainability (77%) were shown to be major important factors when deciding which foods to buy.

It is now up to the USDA to embrace the DGAC recommendations that will help consumers to understand that long-term individual health and food system sustainability are synonymous.

In closing, I urge you to include the DGAC recommendations for incorporating environmental sustainability into the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Thank you for your consideration.

your name/contact information 

Thank you for everything you do for animals!

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