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Australian Dietary Guidelines Review has priorities all wrong


Tuesday, 20 February 2024


The Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) calls on the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to intervene in the review of the nation’s dietary guidelines to ensure it is based on robust nutritional science rather than misinformed sustainability proposals.

This follows the NHMRC’s Dietary Guidelines Expert Committee recently confirming plans to establish a Sustainability Working Group and incorporate environmental messaging in the revised Australian Dietary Guidelines[1].


John McKillop, the Independent Chair of the Red Meat Advisory Council said, “These developments are an overreach by the Dietary Guidelines Expert Committee that goes well beyond the policy intent of the Australian Dietary Guidelines to provide recommendations on healthy foods and dietary patterns.


“The red meat industry has a strong story about sustainability, so our concerns are not because we believe it’s a weakness, but because it’s not the role of the dietary guidelines nor is it the expertise of the Dietary Guidelines Expert Committee.


“The nation’s dietary guidelines should be focused on promoting public health, preventing chronic diseases and ensuring that all Australian have access to accurate and reliable information about their basic nutritional requirements.


“Expanding the scope of the dietary guidelines into other non-nutritional related areas will create confusion, undermine their purpose and the public’s confidence in them.


“We completely agree that sustainability considerations are important for government policy making and consumer purchasing decisions, but they should not underpin our nation’s dietary recommendations.


“People should have the right to feed their families nutritious food, without mixed messaging about the environment or other sustainability considerations.


“Health and nutrition professionals rely on the guidelines as the basis of their advice. Expanding the scope of the guidelines will hamstring them in their ability to offer advice and force them to explain dietary considerations that fall outside of their expertise. This is going to make clear and simple nutritional messaging even more difficult.


“We are calling on the NHMRC and the Dietary Guidelines Expert Committee to reconsider their plans to expand the remit of the dietary guidelines beyond nutritional science. If they refuse, we’ll be asking the Federal Government to intervene as it’s starting to look like the process is running off the rails.


“There are already people who do not have access to basic nutritional requirements afforded by red meat protein, which results in adverse health outcomes. Taking a local lens, 1 in 5 women are iron deficient in Australia; we should be working to solve these problems, not make them worse.

 

“The dietary guidelines review process must not be allowed to be used as a vehicle to drive ideological agendas at the expense of the latest available nutritional science,” said Mr McKillop.



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Background


RMAC is Australia’s only policy leadership and advisory forum made up of producers, lot feeders, processors, manufacturers, retailers, and livestock exporters, representing the entire red meat supply chain from paddock to plate. RMAC members are the following prescribed Peak Industry Councils under the Australian Meat and Livestock Industry Act 1997:


Media contact:

Alastair James

RMAC Chief Executive Officer

0428 776 626



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