White House, USDA and IFT Address MyPlate Initiative at Annual Meeting and Food Expo RELEASED AT THE 2011 IFT ANNUAL MEETING & FOOD EXPO

June 14, 2011

NEW ORLEANS – Officials from the White House, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) all discussed the new public rollout of the MyPlate initiative during a Monday press conference at the IFT 2011 Annual Meeting and Food Expo. The new program will focus on simple messaging directed to consumers with the ultimate goal of helping them make healthy food choices.

www.choosemyplate.gov
www.choosemyplate.gov

The new icon, unveiled June 2 as an update to the food pyramid, was the focus of several sessions held at the 2011 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo®. It is based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and features a plate divided into four sections – one half is a large serving of vegetables and smaller serving of fruit; the other is equal halves grains and protein. A small serving of dairy appears next to the plate.

White House Assistant Chef Sam Kass, who worked on the MyPlate campaign in his role as senior policy advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives, said First Lady Michelle Obama wanted the new symbol to be easy for Americans to keep in mind when filling up a plate at mealtime.

“She’s made it clear that any tools we give to Americans must be applicable to their daily lives,” Kass said.

Kass appeared at the press conference with Robert C. Post, PhD, M.Ed, M.Sc., deputy director of the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), and IFT Vice President Jerry Bowman.

The Role of Food Science

The new guidelines offer a significant role for food science to develop products that taste good and are consistent with the recommendations.
 “There is no food company out there manufacturing something that doesn’t have a place on this plate,” Kass said. “It is important to remember that one icon itself can’t do everything. It’s only as strong as its partnerships and the people who embrace it.”

As part of an agreement recently signed between IFT and the USDA/ CNPP, Bowman announced that IFT will serve as a National Strategic Partner on the USDA’s Nutrition Communicators Network.  “This public awareness initiative includes several other organizations that will work together to develop a comprehensive nutrition promotion plan,” Bowman said. “This fits squarely with IFT’s efforts to educate consumers on making informed decisions on foods based on the practical application of science.”

Dr. Post also led a panel discussion about MyPlate earlier in the day, where the group discussed some of the changes being made to help consumers make healthy choices that are consistent with the Dietary Guidelines. The icon was launched along with a website, www.ChooseMyPlate.gov, that features numerous resources for consumers seeking healthier food options.

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About IFT

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a nonprofit scientific society. Our individual members are professionals engaged in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT's mission is to advance the science of food, and our long-range vision is to ensure a safe and abundant food supply, contributing to healthier people everywhere.

For more than 70 years, the IFT has been unlocking the potential of the food science community by creating a dynamic global forum where members from more than 100 countries can share, learn, and grow. We champion the use of sound science across the food value chain through the exchange of knowledge, by providing education, and by furthering the advancement of the profession. IFT has offices in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit ift.org.

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