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Commissioner Miller Blasts Report For Misleading Info On Meat Consumption and Proposal of Beverage Tax (2/20/2015)

AUSTIN – Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is asking Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Secretary Tom Vilsack of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reject the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s (Committee) report.

“It is ridiculous to suggest we need to raise taxes on certain beverages, and I’m very concerned the Committee is providing inconsistent information on lean red meat,” Commissioner Miller said. “We don’t need big brother placing a sugar tax on drinks, and we certainly should never adopt recommendations that are misleading.”

The Committee’s report is a recommendation to Secretaries Burwell and Vilsack to assist in developing the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are set to be released later this year.

Commissioner Miller is alarmed over the report’s inconsistencies, including the Committee’s decision to exclude lean red meat from what it considers to be a healthy diet. According to the report, “Dietary patterns with positive health benefits are described as high in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in low- and non-fat dairy products; lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages and refined grains.”

Science has shown lean red meat can play an important role in helping people meet their essential nutritional needs. Yet, the Committee’s report removed lean red meat from its recommendations for a healthy diet.

The Committee’s report also reads, “Higher sugar-sweetened beverage taxes may encourage consumers to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage consumption. Using the revenues from the higher sugar-sweetened beverage taxes for nutrition health promotion efforts or to subsidize fruits and vegetables could have public health benefits.”

“I am calling on Texans to contact Secretaries Burwell and Vilsack to reject the Committee’s recommendation on beverage taxes and reducing lean red meat in our diets,” Commissioner Miller said. “Studies have shown us that lean red meat is an important component of a healthy diet, and I hope the Committee will clarify its inconsistencies. I also encourage all Texans to make sure you enjoy a tasty steak and sweet tea for dinner.”

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