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Every five years, the federal departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services convene the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The DGAC mission is to make sound nutritional recommendations based on the best scientific research. Unfortunately as Independent Institute Research Fellow Ernest Pasour notes, in recent years, the DGAC has conscripted nutritional concerns in the cause of environmental zealotry. That mission creep has now been escalated with the selection of Angie Tagtow as executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.
Americans would expect that someone in that position would have a PhD, but unlike her predecessors Angie Tagtow doesn’t. Her master’s degree from Iowa State is in “Family and Consumer Sciences Education.” She is hardly the best person for the job in terms of expertise, but she excels in activism. Tagtow is the founder of Environmental Nutrition Solutions, a consulting firm that promotes “sustainable, ecologically sound, socially acceptable” food systems.
As CNPP boss, Tagtow will oversee the 2015 DGAC and doubtless stuff it full of Nanny State provisions. She believes that “policy dictates everything” and has called for “food system reform” to accompany the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Tagtow wants those in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) to use their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card to buy vegetable seeds and purchase “seasonal produce.” So she will likely attempt to reconfigure welfare benefits in line with her agenda. Americans’ health takes a back seat to the health of the planet.
Should a bureaucratically bloated federal government be telling people what to eat? After all, sound nutritional information is available on every hand. Given that reality, it follows that the nation does not need the CNPP or the DGAC. As Ernest Pasour noted:
“Elimination of the committee is probably asking too much of an administration that adds new federal bureaus and entitlements, even in a recession. But a future administration might consider putting the committee on a starvation diet.”