Outcry over anti livestock influence in dietary guideline review

Outcry over anti livestock influence in dietary guideline review

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RMAC calls for a member of expert committee to be removed

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RED meat industry leaders are calling for the termination of the appointment of a member of the expert committee guiding a review of the Australian Dietary Guidelines, claiming the university lecturer in nutrition and food science has repeatedly publicly demonstrated an anti livestock production agenda.

The Red Meat Advisory Council has written to the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Federal Government authority tasked with overseeing the review, seeking the removal of Dr Evangeline Mantzioris from the expert committee.

The committee was announced this month, as one of the early steps in what is expected to be a four-year process to review the guidelines.

The review is being closely monitored by producers and other red meat businesses in light of increasing criticism from health experts about the lack of evidence behind recommended limits.

Current ADG recommendations are that people limit intake of unprocessed red meat to 65 grams a day.

ALSO SEE:Red meat's 65g-a-day limit under scrutiny

The NHMRC gave assurances around taking into account conflicts of interest in assessing the members of its expert committee and many in the beef industry believe Dr Mantzioris' opinions on animal food production constitute an unacceptable bias.

RMAC chairman John McKillop, in the letter to the NHMRC, said Dr Mantzioris' agenda was based not upon objective scientific evidence relating to human nutrition but on a global ideological campaign to reduce red meat consumption to less than three teaspoons a day.

The letter quoted public claims made by Dr Mantzioris that red meat was the greatest (food production) contributor to climate change.

It also referred to opinion pieces written by Dr Mantzioris with titles such as 'How To Get The Nutrients You Need Without Eating As Much Red Meat', published by her employer The University of South Australia, and also in The Conversation.

Mr McKillop's letter said as a member of the expert committee, Dr Mantzioris' justification for recommending a reduction in red meat consumption for non-nutritional reasons was completely unacceptable.

The review must ensure that Federal Government dietary advice was based on the best and most recent scientific evidence about the types and amounts of food needed for a long and healthy life, he argued.

"For Australian consumers to have complete confidence in the review's findings, the objectivity of each committee member must be beyond reproach," Mr McKillop said.

"Dr Mantzioris' public record of endorsing dietary recommendations based upon considerations other than scientific nutritional evidence significantly jeopardises the credibility of the committee."

The NHMRC says members of the expert committee were appointed based on their expertise in areas such as evidence translation, epidemiology, research methodology, food and health relationships and nutrition communication.

The process to appoint members involved many steps, including scrutiny by an independent group of experts.

NHMRC said the committee represented a wide range of expertise to ensure the evidence and the final recommendations were accurate and appropriate for Australians.

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The story Outcry over anti livestock influence in dietary guideline review first appeared on Farm Online.

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