Updated U.S. dietary recommendations key in on seafood
U.S. federal government health and food agencies are beginning the process of updating dietary guidelines for consumers and a key advisory committee is urging greater seafood consumption.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released recommendations from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to the public on Thursday for comment.
HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will consider this report, along with input from other federal agencies and comments from the public as they develop the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to be released later this year.
The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) noted that the report encourages American consumers to “consume dietary patterns that are rich in seafood.”
“This important committee of renowned nutrition experts is clear in its conclusions that seafood is safe, healthy and sustainable, and should be included as a key part of the American diet,” said NFI President John Connelly.
The report addresses ongoing misunderstandings about the presence of mercury in seafood and highlights the fact that, for the majority of all fish, “neither the risks of mercury nor organic pollutants outweigh the health benefits of seafood consumption.”
The group is also clear in its practical approach to sustainable sourcing, determining that wild and farmed seafood are both needed “to supply enough seafood to support meeting dietary recommendations.” The group concludes well-managed fisheries and modern aquaculture contribute to stable, sustainable production of this important protein.
“For decades, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans have been at the core of our efforts to promote the health and well-being of American families,” said Secretaries Burwell and Vilsack in a joint statement.
The public is encouraged to view the independent advisory group’s report and provide written comments at www.DietaryGuidelines.gov for a period of 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. The public will also have an opportunity to offer oral comments at a public meeting in Bethesda, Maryland, on 24 March 24.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans was first published in 1980. Beginning in 1990, Congress mandated that HHS and USDA release a new edition at least every five years.