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Food and Nutrition Board establishes DRIs
The Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board has established Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for energy, carbohydrates, fiber, fat, protein, and amino acids. Since the publication of the Recommended Dietary Allowances in 1989 and the Canadian Recommended Nutrient Intakes in 1990, new information has emerged about nutrient requirements that warrants the development of updated guidelines. The report presents new guidelines for the United States and Canada. In the past, Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) have served as the benchmarks of nutritional adequacy in the U.S. The new DRIs were established using an expanded concept that includes indicators of good health and the prevention of chronic disease, as well as possible adverse effects of overconsumption. The DRIs include not only recommended intakes intended to help individuals meet their daily nutritional requirements, but also tolerable upper intake levels (ULs) that help them avoid harm from consuming too much of a nutrient. The report contains the first recommended intake levels for fiber. It defines “total fiber” as the combination of “dietary” fiber—the edible, nondigestible component of carbohydrates and lignin naturally found in plant food—and “functional” fiber—fiber sources that have similar health benefits as dietary fiber but are isolated or extracted from natural sources or are synthetic. The report also establishes age-based requirements for the first time for all nine of the essential amino acids found in dietary protein. The complete report, issued on September 5, is available online at www.nap.edu/books/0309085373/html/.
Nutrient database updated
USDA’s Agricultural Research Service has issued its “Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 15,” which reports nutrient values for 6,220 food items, generic and brand-name. A single food item’s complete profile boasts 117 nutrient categories, which appear in columnar format. The report is available online at www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/SR15/sr15.html.
School foodservice recall guide available
On August 21, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture unveiled a resource guide for school foodservice professionals. “Responding to a Food Recall” is the latest in a series of technical assistance materials geared toward specific needs of school foodservice professionals. The publication, which will be made available free to all school food authorities, contains food recall reference guides, leader guides, and brochures. The National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI)—an independent organization funded by Congress to provide education, research, and training to child nutrition groups to promote excellence in child nutrition programs—produced the resource guide through a cooperative agreement with USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. The guide is available online at www.nfsmi.org/Information/recallmanual.pdf.
Security guidelines for processing plants issued
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued a document called “Security Guidelines for Food Processors.” These guidelines, available in English and Spanish, were developed to assist federal- and state-inspected plants that produce meat, poultry, and egg products in identifying ways to strengthen their security plans to protect against acts of bioterrorism. They include security measures for slaughter and processing, storage, shipping, and receiving, water and ice supply, mail handling, and personnel. Compliance with the guidelines is voluntary. Deadline for comments is October 21. Details are in the Federal Register of August 22 (67 FR 54404-54405). For more information, contact Perfecto Santiago at USDA/FSIS, Washington, DC 20250-3700 (phone 202-205-0699).
Questionnaire on healthy eating proposed
USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion is seeking comments on a proposed questionnaire regarding the Interactive Healthy Eating Index (IHEI), an Internet-based diet self-assessment tool that allows users to input their daily food intakes and obtain a quick summary measure of their overall diet quality in terms of current dietary guidance. Immediate feedback includes an overall Index score, 10 component scores, and nutrient intake information. Motivational nutrition messages tailored to user needs and a personalized graphical representation of the Food Guide Pyramid are generated based on user scores. The proposed questionnaire will collect information on the usability, clarity, and quality of the IHEI Web site. The questionnaire will also obtain feedback on user interest and need for the addition of a personalized meal plan or suggested list of foods designed to improve a person’s diet quality. Deadline for comments is October 8. Details are in the Federal Register of August 9 (67 FR 51811). For more information,contact Shirley Gerrior at 703-305-2563 or [email protected].
by NEIL H. MERMELSTEIN