Comments by Beer Institute President and CEO to USDA and HHS on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Scientific Report.
Jim McGreevy, Beer Institute president and CEO, delivered the remarks below to representatives from the Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services on the Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee:
I would like to start by thanking you for the opportunity to provide my perspective today.
I am here on behalf of the more than 2.1 million Americans who owe their livelihood to our nation’s beer industry, including the more than 38,000 agricultural workers—from hops farmers in Washington State to rice farmers in Arkansas to barley growers in the Rocky Mountains.
I have two questions: Will you base the recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines on the preponderance of scientific evidence? Or will you establish a new precedent that the Advisory Committee can disregard its charter and base recommendations outside the standards set by NESR?
For three decades, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans have defined moderate alcohol consumption as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
Without question, the science identified by the NESR systematic review supported continuation of the current consumption guidelines for alcohol.
However, the Beverages and Added Sugars Subcommittee acted outside the parameters set forth by the Department of Agriculture and did not follow the standard for systematic review. The decision to halve the moderate consumption guideline for men to up to one drink per day disregards the evidence in the systematic review in favor of ungraded, out-of-scope references and conflicts with the Committee’s responsibilities under the 2020 DGAC Charter.
Dr. Eric Rimm, who chaired the DGAC alcohol subcommittee in 2010 and at that time led the last extensive DGAC scientific review, summed it up in a recent news article, “The science has not changed in the last five years…thus I think the committee got it wrong.”
Adopting this recommendation in the final Dietary Guidelines will only create confusion.
My request of you is simple: Maintain the current moderate consumption guidelines for alcohol. Keeping the current guidelines will send a clear message that you support the recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences on how best to conduct scientific reviews. You will ensure clarity because the preponderance of science will set the foundation for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Beer is enjoyed responsibly by millions of adults every day. In fact, overall alcohol consumption has not been higher during the COVID-19 period.
Basing the Dietary Guidelines in the eligible science in the NESR systematic review will mean Americans can trust the recommendations for how they should continue to enjoy alcohol in moderation if they choose to drink.
Thank you again for this opportunity.
A video of the comments is available below.