Food Industry Applauds New Dietary Icon MyPlate

Food Industry Applauds New Dietary Icon MyPlate

New symbol draws positive response.

A long list of food officials, everyone from the American Bakers Association to Weight Watchers, issued positive remarks following the unveiling of MyPlate that will replace MyPyramid as the government's food icon.

United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel says the new MyPlate icon is a positive step by the government in emphasizing the importance of a fruit and vegetable-rich diet, but now it is the responsibility of the produce industry to promote MyPlate at every opportunity. United Fresh Vice President of Nutrition and Health Lorelei DiSogra says the new icon supports the First Lady’s Let’s Move Initiative to end childhood obesity. She says the icon and message will have its most dramatic impact on improving child nutrition, especially in schools with salad bars.

Along with focusing on filling half of a plate with fruits and vegetables, USDA’s new dietary icon MyPlate suggests the other half be protein and grains. American Meat Institute Foundation President James Hodges says he is pleased the new icon affirms that protein is a critical component of a balanced, healthy diet. He says lean meat and poultry products are some of the most nutrient-rich foods available.

"At around 150 calories, one three-ounce serving of lean beef gives consumers more bang for their calorie buck," said Bill Donald, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. "Lean beef supplies nearly half of a person’s daily value for protein and nine other essential nutrients, including zinc, iron and Vitamin B12."

Donald says American cattlemen are ready to help consumers build a healthful diet that includes lean beef, emphasizing the more than 29 cuts of beef that meet government guidelines for lean that give consumers that choice and help them maintain a well-balanced diet.

Dairy still remains an important part of a healthy diet MyPlate includes a glass to the side to represent the dairy group. Jean Ragalie, president of the National Dairy Council, says the location of dairy on the graphic really helps it stand out as an essential part of a healthy eating plan. One serving of nutrient-rich, low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese or yogurt has at least as much protein as an egg and actually contributes 18% of the protein in the American diet. National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jerry Kozak says Americans currently average two daily servings of dairy, but three servings are recommended.

Kozak says the simple visual metaphor emphasizes the importance of those three servings. America’s dairy farmers and processors commend the USDA for adding the dairy representation to the dinner plate to show how a healthy eating plan includes a serving of dairy at every meal. Milk Processor Education Program CEO Vivien Godfrey says milk provides a unique package of nine essential nutrients and this tool will be a fresh reminder to all Americans as they sit down at their tables with their families.

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