Senators ask to extend comment period for guidelines

by Jeff Gelski
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WASHINGTON – Four U.S. senators who hold leading roles on agriculture and health committees have requested extending the period to comment on the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s scientific report released last month.

“The advisory committee report included recommendations that are notably different from previous guidelines, which will require additional time to develop thoughtful feedback,” the senators said in a March 16 letter addressed to Tom Vilsack, secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Sylvia Mathews Burwell, secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “To ensure both agencies have the benefit of hearing from the full range of stakeholders, we request a 30-day extension of the comment period, from 45 days to 75 days. The additional time would allow constituents to review the report more carefully before submitting questions and comments, as well as to provide well-crafted, constructive and thorough comments.”

Senators signing the letter were Pat Roberts of Kansas, chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, ranking member of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; and Patty Murray of Washington, ranking member of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

The D.G.A.C.’s scientific report appeared in the Feb. 23 issue of the Federal Register. The comment period currently is scheduled to end April 8. The U.S.D.A. and the H.H.S. should release the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 later this year.
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