USDA’s new MyPlate applauded by foodservice organizations

The USDA's new MyPlate guideline, unveiled Thursday by First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, has received favorable reactions from numerous foodservice organizations including the National Restaurant Association, National Pork Board, USA Rice Federation, U.S. Dairy Industry, Produce Marketing Association and more.

The USDA's MyPlate icon replaces the 19-year-old Food Pyramid and is designed to be a guide to help Americans make healthier food choices. The initiative promotes an increase in fruit and vegetable intake, depicted as half of the plate graphic. It also encourages a switch to whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk, and a reduction in sodium intake and sugary drinks. One-quarter of the plate is devoted to protein intake, including lean meats, fish and poultry.

The MyPlate website includes specific information targeted for different demographics such as kids and pregnant women, as well as tips, interactive tools and research material for professionals. The USDA is partnering with food producers, health insurers, restaurants and schools to promote the new suggestions.

"The National Restaurant Association applauds the work to create an icon that gives consumers a clearer idea of how to think of their everyday meal options. The industry will continue to play an active role in helping to create an environment that addresses today's healthy living challenges," said Scott DeFife, executive vice president of policy and government affairs for the NRA. "Much like the upcoming national menu labeling standard, the new food icon will be a useful resource to help inform all Americans' food choices."

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