Dietary guidelines stress calorie control
On January 12, the federal government anounced the release of the revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the federal government’s science-based advice to promote health and reduce risk of chronic diseases through nutrition and physical activity. This sixth edition places stronger emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity. This joint project of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture is the latest of the five-year reviews required by federal law. “These new Dietary Guidelines represent our best science-based advice to help Americans live healthier and longer lives,” HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said. “The report gives action steps to reach achievable goals in weight control, stronger muscles and bones, and balanced nutrition to help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Promoting good dietary habits is key to reducing the growing problems of obesity and physical inactivity, and to gaining the health benefits that come from a nutritionally balanced diet.” For more information, see

Senate confirms new agriculture secretary
On January 20, the U.S. Senate confirmed the governor of Nebraska Mike Johanns as the new Secretary of Agriculture, replacing Ann Veneman. On January 17, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced that Veneman will become the new head of UNICEF.

CDC issues correction on obesity death calculations
In March 2004, officials from the Center for Disease Control published an article that showed that a large proportion of deaths each year in the United States result from lifestyle-related behaviors such as obesity. The researchers have published a correction in the January 19, 2005, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The researchers said that although they overestimated the number of deaths caused by poor diet and physical inactivity, their principal conclusions remain unchanged: tobacco use and poor diet and physical inactivity contributed to the largest number of deaths, and the number of deaths related to poor diet and physical inactivity is increasing.

USDA grain lab begins renovation
A major USDA research center, where scientists study cereal grains as they move from farm to table, began major renovations on January 13. The Grain Marketing and Production Research Center, Manhattan, Kans., is operated by the Agricultural Research Service, USDA’s chief in-house scientific research agency. The roughly $14.8-million renovation is part of planned updates that will provide the main building with new heating and cooling plants, modern electrical and plumbing systems, and a new roof.

CFSAN meets 90% of 2004 goals
The Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition has posted an online end-of-year report on its 2004 program priority accomplishments, indicating that it met at least 90% of its top-line goals. For more information, see

U.S. and Korea reach rice import agreement
USDA announced on Dec. 30 that an agreement has been reached with the Republic of Korea to obtain greater market access opportunities for U.S. rice exporters. As a result of these negotiations, Korea will double the amount of rice it imports over the next 10 years, provide guaranteed access for 50,000 metric tons of U.S. rice each year, and make imported rice available directly to Korean consumers. To qualify for continued “special treatment” under the rules of the World Trade Organization, Korea is required to notify WTO of the results of these negotiations by the end of this year.

USDA outlines BSE minimal-risk regions
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is amending the regulations regarding the importation of animals and animal products to establish a category of regions that present a minimal risk of introducing bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) into the U.S. via live ruminants and ruminant products and by-products and to add Canada to this category. For more information, see the Federal Register of January 4, 2005 (70 FR 459–553).

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