Sound science and the D.G.A.
While G.M.O. labeling may be the G.M.A.’s biggest priority, the association is also working on a variety of other issues. The G.M.A. expressed concern about the Dietary Guidelines for America Committee’s recommendations that were published this past February.
“The Dietary Guidelines for America are very important and it’s important for them to be based on sound science,” Ms. Bailey said. “I think we have seen over the years that science and the process used to develop the Dietary Guidelines has to be very rigorous and grounded in the best available science. The focus this year on sustainable food production and ingredients was outside the scope of the guidelines.”
She added that even with the best available science, contributors to the D.G.A. must be open to new and evolving ideas.
“I think sodium is one that is particularly interesting,” she said. “The science continues to evolve. There was the I.O.M. (Institute of Medicine) report in 2013 that raised serious and well-grounded issues about the 1,500 mg level. In fact it also suggested (the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for America recommendation) of less than 2,300 might not be accurate. We have to be careful on sodium. Ten years ago the discussion was completely different.
“The same is happening with fats. Our understanding is changing and the Dietary Guidelines committee agrees it is important to get it right.”
The G.M.A. will be holding its annual Leadership Forum Aug. 14-16 in Colorado Springs. The agenda at this year’s meeting will look beyond many of the public policy and regulatory issues the association is dealing with. Rather, the focus will be on new product development, e-commerce and using data to improve new product development and supply chain efforts.
“Big data and e-commerce are two areas our member companies are interested in,” Ms. Bailey said. “Through the leadership conference we provide platforms for our members and partners to talk about the subjects. We are fortunate to have an associate membership base that has a number of experts who focus on big data and supply chain. We really look to those associate partners for information that is responsive to the needs of our member companies.”