Is the USDA Governing Our Taste Buds?

David Katz, M.D.
Huffington Post

The New York Times has done a fine job pointing out the fishy thing about cheese: The same federal authorities charged with reducing its consumption to help fight the obesity epidemic, are directly involved in promoting its sales. In short, an entity called “Dairy Management” helped Domino’s Pizza out of a slump by encouraging cheesier pies. Leaving aside questions about the need for an outside consultant to tell you people like cheese, the main issue is this: Dairy Management is a creation of, and accountable to, the USDA.

The very same USDA responsible for taking advice from a group of scientists, and turning it into the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In fact, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are if anything overdue, and presumably imminent — if not, they are destined to be the 2011 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Fans of Michael Pollan, who has long advocated for a food bill to replace our farm bill, and/or of Marion Nestle, who spilled the beans on food politics long ago will likely find this matter no great surprise. But it clearly is of great concern that the pinnacle of public policy related to diet is directly involved in selling pizza.

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