The USDA helps formulate the federal dietary guidelines. The guidelines have been accused of bias towards corporate interests over public health concerns due to the dual mission of the USDA to promote agribusiness as well as public health (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here). In Greece, by contrast, a health agency formulates the guidelines, and a plant-based diet is the daily recommendation. The latest USDA Guidelines (MyPlate) are certainly an improvement and shifting towards a plant based diet is recommended.

The USDA does test retail meat to uncover the level of parasite infestation in our national herds and flocks. Most American beef is infested with sarcocystis parasites, and 1 in 6 lambs were found to be infected with the parasite toxoplasma, which also infect the human brain.

The USDA has been accused of failing to protect the American public against meat contaminated with residual drugs, pesticides, and heavy metals. The USDA has denied petitions to reduce nitrite levels in cured meat (which may cause cancer) because of fears over botulism (a deadly form of food poisoning). When confronted with the risks associated with retail U.S. meat, a USDA microbiologist blamed consumers for getting sick from bad meat. The USDA recommends washing fruit and veggies but recommends not even rinsing meat and poultry for fear of fecal bacterial splatter.

See also the related blog post: Dietary Guideline graphics: From the Food Pyramid to MyPlate, Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate, and PCRM’s Power Plate

Topic summary contributed by Denise.
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