Include Environmental Impact in Dietary Guidelines


Target: Chair of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Barbara Miller, Dr.P.H., R. D.

Goal: Include environmental impact in dietary recommendations

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee wants to include environmental impact as a health factor in the its 2015 dietary guidelines. Congress has expressed that it views environmental impact as an “extraneous” concern, and asks that the committee only include “nutrient and dietary recommendations based upon sound nutrition science.” Farming practices have an enormous, scientifically proven impact on the environment, and including this information in the dietary guidelines will help people learn about how purchasing sustainably-produced food is healthier for their family and the environment.

Encouraging Americans to eat food that has a smaller impact on the environment is a positive move. Many people don’t know where their food comes from or what effects it might have on the environment. Educating people on this information by including it in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans report will encourage people to eat better and have less impact on the environment.

Congress doesn’t want the report to include this information, and the committee has also faced criticism from the American Meat Institute for encouraging a diet that is heavier in plant-based foods than meat for health and environmental reasons. This report is meant to inform and educate the American people, not serve the interests of Congress and the meat industry. Show your support for the committee by signing this petition stating that we find environmental concerns an important factor in deciding what to eat.


Dear Dr. Miller,

We applaud the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s efforts to include environmental impact in the 2015 report. Though Congress and the American Meat Institute have voiced concerns about the report’s contents, Americans need to know that farming has a negative impact on the environment. Though people are increasingly aware of how they as individuals can limit their carbon footprint, many don’t consider the way their food is produced—even fresh food can cause environmental harm.

About 70 percent of the world’s water use is agricultural. Pesticides and fertilizers can spread into local water supplies, having disastrous effects on wildlife, including wild food sources like fish. Livestock, fertilizer, manure management, and other farming practices contribute to air pollution. All of these factors are important parts of food production but not things that many people consider when planning a healthy diet. This information is vital for protecting the environment and ensuring that we have healthy bodies and a healthy planet for years to come.

Though Congress may not support your effort to inform the American people about how their diet impacts the environment, it’s necessary for people to know. Good health includes a healthy diet, but also a healthy environment—we need to protect the land we live and on the air we breathe as much as we need to be sure that we eat a balanced diet. Please don’t allow pressure from Congress to dissuade you from including this information in your report.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: FlickrLickr via Wikimedia Commons

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112 Signatures

  • Jill Ballard
  • Alice Rim
  • Holly Hall
  • Terrie Phenicie
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  • Mal Gaff
  • Alexander Dolowitz
  • Nancy Petersen
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