The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Petition to USDA & HHS on sustainable Dietary Guidelines

Posted on March 18, 2015 by The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group recently received the following request:

I am a public health scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and I posted a petition on asking the Secretaries of USDA and HHS to resist pressure from big food corporations (esp. the meat industry) to take sustainability out of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines.

I’m writing to ask if you would be willing to share the petition. Even though the petition is not specifically about promoting totally veg diets, it describes the environmental impact of meat production and the importance of having dietary guidelines that recognize the links between our food choices and the environment. We have over 1,000 supporters after two weeks.

Thank you!
– Jillian

USDA and HHS Secretaries: Don’t let big food corporations weaken the Dietary Guidelines for Americans

For the first time, a team of experts advising the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended that our government’s advice on healthy eating should take sustainability into account—the ability to provide nutritious diets now and in the future. Based on an extensive review of evidence, they recommend eating more plant-based food, fewer animal products, and a variety of wild and farmed seafood.

This is important because current agricultural methods lead to water pollution from nutrient and pesticide runoff, high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, poor animal welfare, increasing antibiotic resistance, and areas of high animal density that produce more manure than can be safely used on local cropland. Many of these negative ecological outcomes present serious health risks to consumers, workers, and communities. Reducing demand for meat and producing animal products more sustainably would help address these problems.

Predictably, certain food corporations and their allies in Congress are wasting no time in pressuring the USDA and HHS to remove this information from the final version of the Guidelines, which are updated every five years. I started this petition so Americans can show their support for Dietary Guidelines that value the conservation of natural resources and recognize environmental impacts of our food choices.

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