2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans will not include “sustainability.”

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working to finalize the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) — a set of recommendations based on up-to-date nutrition science that is intended to help the U.S. population make healthy food and beverage choices.  In February 2015, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee submitted a report to HHS and USDA, including the controversial recommendation that Americans should eat a less resource-intensive diet with a greater emphasis on plant-based foods and decreased emphasis on red and processed meats.
  • HHS and USDA now have confirmed that sustainability will not factor into the 2015 DGA.  While acknowledging the importance of considering the environmental impact of food sources, the government has indicated that sustainability issues fall outside the scope of the DGA and that nutrition recommendations are not the appropriate vehicle for this particular policy conversation.
  • The decision to exclude sustainability from the DGA generally is being met with praise from the food industry, as many believe that nutrition scientists do not possess the right expertise to evaluate environmental policy issues.  Regardless of its omission from the DGA, however, the conversation about sustainability is likely to remain active in today’s environment and marketplace.