Quantcast

150,000 Americans Call for Less Meat, More Plants in U.S. Dietary Guidelines

Food

More than 150,000 Americans signed a petition that was delivered today in front of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC, urging Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to adopt the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommendations for less meat and more plant-based food.

The petition, led by the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth, was supported by more than a dozen environmental, public health and food advocacy organizations as part of a larger effort showing the widespread support among experts and the American public for science-based dietary guidelines that promote health and sustainability. The groups also signed onto a joint statement in favor of the recommendations for less meat and more plant-based foods that originally appeared as a full-page ad in the New York Times and Washington Post, and has now gathered support from more than 150 organizations and experts. “Americans in every corner of the country are moving toward diets that are better for themselves and better for wildlife and our planet, especially by eating less meat,” said Stephanie Feldstein, population and sustainability director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The choice is clear: In this era of climate change, drought and diet-related health crises, the government should be leading us with dietary guidelines that are healthy and sustainable for us all.”

The guidelines are a government-approved blueprint for healthy diets and are widely used in nutrition education programs and to set the meal plans for government institutions, including schools, prisons, military facilities and federal cafeterias. This year is the first time sustainability considerations were included in the scientific report used to inform the final guidelines.

“We hope the administration will stand up for science in the face of intense industry pressure,” said Kari Hamerschlag, food and technology senior program manager at Friends of the Earth. “The science is clear that eating less meat and more plants is better for our health and the health of our planet and future generations. We urge the administration to pay attention to the evidence, as well as the large number of petition signers and public comments in support of the sustainability recommendations.”

“Right now, U.S. farmers are only producing enough vegetables to serve each American 1.6 cups a day—far less than the current dietary recommendations of 2.5 cups a day,” said Alexis Baden Mayer, political director at Organic Consumers Association. “Too much of our crop land is being used to feed animals in factory farms instead of meeting our nutritional needs. That’s not healthy or sustainable. The USDA and HHS need to fix this problem, and they can start by implementing the DGAC’s recommendations.”

The petition was supported by the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Center for Food Safety, Food Democracy Now!, Food Revolution Network, Food Tank, Green America, Healthy Food Action, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Organic Consumers Association, Pesticide Action Network, Rainforest Action Network, Roots of Change and Slow Food USA.

In addition to signing the petition, thousands of Americans have submitted comments to the agencies in support of including both health and sustainability in the 2015 dietary guidelines. The Department of Health and Human Services reported receiving “an unprecedented number” of comments this year, with more than 20,000 comments compared to only 1,200 comments during the 2010 dietary guidelines process. The comment period closes on Friday.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

16 Popular Seafood Choices You Should Avoid Eating

6 Urban Farms Revolutionizing Where Food Is Grown

10 Superfoods You Can Buy This Spring at Your Local Farmers’ Markets

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter


While airlines only serve bottled drinking water directly to customers, they use the plane's water for coffee and tea, and passengers can drink the tap water. Aitor Diago / Getty Images

You might want to think twice before washing your hands in an airplane bathroom.

Read More Show Less
Individual standing in Hurricane Harvey flooding and damage. Jill Carlson / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Allegra Kirkland, Jeremy Deaton, Molly Taft, Mina Lee and Josh Landis

Climate change is already here. It's not something that can simply be ignored by cable news or dismissed by sitting U.S. senators in a Twitter joke. Nor is it a fantastical scenario like The Day After Tomorrow or 2012 that starts with a single crack in the Arctic ice shelf or earthquake tearing through Los Angeles, and results, a few weeks or years later, in the end of life on Earth as we know it.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A pregnant woman works out in front of the skyline of London. SHansche / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Air pollution particles that a pregnant woman inhales have the potential to travel through the lungs and breach the fetal side of the placenta, indicating that unborn babies are exposed to black carbon from motor vehicles and fuel burning, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications.

Read More Show Less

Teen activist Greta Thunberg delivered a talking-to to members of Congress Tuesday during a meeting of the Senate Climate Change Task Force after politicians praised her and other youth activists for their efforts and asked their advice on how to fight climate change.

Read More Show Less
Ten feet of water flooded 20 percent of this Minot, North Dakota neighborhood in June 2011. DVIDSHUB / CC BY 2.0

By Jared Brey

When Hurricane Michael tore through the Florida panhandle last October, it killed at least 43 people, caused an estimated $25 billion in damage and destroyed thousands of homes.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A protestor holds up her hand covered with fake oil during a demonstration on the U.C. Berkeley campus in May 2010. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The University of California system will dump all of its investments from fossil fuels, as the Associated Press reported. The university system controls over $84 billion between its pension fund and its endowment. However, the announcement about its investments is not aimed to please activists.

Read More Show Less
Forest fire continues to blaze in Indonesesia on Sept. 18. WAHYUDI / AFP / Getty Images

Nearly 200 people have been arrested in Indonesia over their possible connections to the massive wildfires raging in the nation's forest, officials said this week.

Read More Show Less

By Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

World leaders have a formidable task: setting a course to save our future. The extreme weather made more frequent and severe by climate change is here. This spring, devastating cyclones impacted 3 million people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Record heatwaves are hitting Europe and other regions — this July was the hottest month in modern record globally. Much of India is again suffering severe drought.

Read More Show Less