Shortly before Food Safety News was temporarily unable to post — a maintenance period imposed by our techie handlers from late Thursday to mid-day Saturday — the long-awaited proposed “2015 Dietary Guidelines” were dropped by the group that exists to advise USDA and HHS. The group took more than 500 pages to complete its assignment. An official comment period now follows. I am already bored by the whole exercise. myplate_coloring_pages_406x250First, at this point, we all pretty well know what is good to eat, what is good for us to eat, and what we should limit or avoid. New research is always good, especially when we learn that something previously found to be bad for us is actually good, or at least not all that bad. That’s good because I never have come across a good day for giving up coffee. Anyway, when USDA began this exercise back in 1894, there was probably a need for the federal government to help consumers make sense out of food. That day has long since passed. We are blessed with no end of research institutes, universities, and other organizations that can do this. Indeed, the advisory group is made up of faculty members from Baylor, Georgetown, Purdue, Tuffs, Harvard and a bunch of others that don’t sell nutritional newsletters. Our highly efficient federal government could pass the baton on this one. That’s pretty much what we are going to do at Food Safety News. The dietary guidelines are largely about food and drink, not food safety. So they are not, strictly speaking, in our wheelhouse. There is nothing here about the sort of poison that causes fairly immediate injuries or death. We may catch a high point or two, but that will be it. That said, everyone would benefit some from the science in the advisory committee report. It will become one of those “go-to” documents for science writers looking for what this consensus of researchers had to say on sugar increasing the risk of Type 2 diabetes and the relationship between fat and cardiovascular risk. The same information comes out in all those newsletters, but there is nothing we in the media like better than being able to turn to one major authoritative source. It is not all that science, but the politics, causing the interest. My mailbox is already filling up with reactions to the report, and my delete button is getting a workout. It’s going to be another chapter in the “dual reality” in which we seem to be living. Here in the real world, 2014 was a record year because of the gourmet burger boom that saw something like 9.2 billion served. Consumer confidence in beef is back because of government and industry success in controlling E. coli O157:H7. In the federal government world, the new guidelines call for “less” red and processed meat, with lots of policy language for making it so. The real world is fast, technology-driven, and responding to market segments in ever more sophisticated ways. Federal world is big, sluggish and stupid, and, if you cannot make your idea work in the real world, you turn to fed world for more money and command-and-control regulations. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is a product of fed world, so the noise that is going to come with these recommendations is entirely predictable. And I don’t mean that in any deregulatory way. This is just about politics and power. And selling more of those newsletters, of course.