A new dietary guide recommending a reduction in the daily intake of dairy products from a previously recommended 15 per cent to 8 per cent has been called “incredibly disappointing” by the Farmers Union of Wales.
In a letter to Public Health England, the FUW has requested proof under the Freedom of Information Act of the evidence used in determining the status of dairy in the Eatwell Guide -- and a list of the experts who were consulted.
“Dairy products provide an important source of protein and calcium and contain essential vitamins and minerals, all of which are needed for a balanced diet,” said union president, Glyn Roberts.
“Indeed, the exclusion of dairy products from the ‘sugar tax’ demonstrates the role such products play in a healthy diet.
“The new guidance also comes at a time when the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dairy has highlighted the nutritional benefits of dairy produce.
“It is therefore extremely disappointing that dairy industry representatives were not consulted before this new conflicting guide was released; especially as the guidance is potentially harmful to the sector,” added Mr Roberts.
“The FUW continues to promote the nutritional value of dairy. Indeed, the importance of dairy can be seen when looking at dietary guidelines across the world.
“Many countries, including America, Australia, France and Ireland, have adopted a prominent and positive policy for dairy produce and the implementation of a 3-a-day dairy policy in the UK was supported by the APPG on dairy.”
FUW milk and dairy produce committee chairman, Rhydian Owen said: “The union fully understands the need for a healthy and balanced diet and, as such, is bitterly disappointed in this most recent public health campaign which reduces the significance of the dairy food group.
“A robust evidence base is required when issuing dietary guidance and the FUW seeks to improve the openness and scrutiny provided when ‘evidence’ for nutritional standards is obtained. The documents used to inform this decision must be made available.”