The Department of Agriculture recently released the 1982 yearbook, "Food From Farm to Table," and the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans are conspicuous by their absence.
The yearbook, an annual USDA project for 83 years, attempts to focus on one theme concerning agriculture. This year, the book follows food from the farm through the domestic and foreign marketplace and examines consumer influences on food trends.
But the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, established during the Carter years as a government nutrition policy, encourage Americans to "eat a variety of foods; maintain ideal weight; avoid too much fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol; eat foods with adequate starch and fiber; avoid too much sugar; avoid too much sodium and if you drink alcohol, do so in moderation."
Many people, including nutritionist Jean Mayer and former administrator of the USDA Human Nutrition Center Mark Hegsted, have criticized the Reagan administration for not supporting the guidelines. Many claim the USDA succumbs to pressure from the food industry, many of whose members, they say, are not thrilled with the guidelines.
While USDA officials say they do indeed support the guidelines, they don't secure that position with this yearbook. USDA Secretary John Block, speaking at a press reception, said the absence of the dietary guidelines should not interpreted as opposition. Rather, he said, one should just assume that the nutrition information in the book--based on the basic food groups--is sound.