OPHS & USDA — Dietary Guidelines :hhs Response to Rfc

01/08/2004

January 8, 2004

Mr. Jim J. Tozzi 
Member, Advisory Board 
The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness 
11 Dupont Circle, N.W., Suite 700 
Washington, D.C. 20036-1231

RE: Request for Correction of Information

Dear Mr. Tozzi:

This is written on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Public Health and Science (OPHS), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding your September 8, 2003, Request for Correction of Information filed under the HHS "Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity , Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated to the Public", the USDA "Quality of Information Guidelines," and the OPHS "Guidelines for Ensuring the Quality of Information Disseminated to the Public" (OPHS Guidelines).(1) Your request challenges information that may be disseminated in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2005 Dietary Guidelines), which Congress requires HHS and USDA to review and publish every five years.( 2) Every five years the administrative responsibility for the development of the Dietary Guidelines alternates between Departments. This round, OPHS is the office within HHS that is coordinating the joint development of the 2005 Guidelines.

We appreciate your concern about the quality of scientific information being considered by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) for the 2005 Dietary Guidelines. Congress directed HHS and USDA to base the 2005 Dietary Guidelines on the preponderance of "the scientific and medical knowledge that is current at the time the report is prepared."(3) Consistent with this mandate, and all the applicable information quality guidelines cited above, HHS and USDA aim to "maximize the quality, objectivity, utility and integrity" of the information that will be disseminated in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines.(4) In this case, however, the 2005 Dietary Guidelines have yet to be written or disseminated. Accordingly, a request for correction is premature.

As part of the process for preparing the 2005 Dietary Guidelines, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a federal advisory committee of prominent experts in nutrition and health, has begun undertaking a review of the 2000 Dietary Guidelines in light of recent scientific and applied literature to determine what revisions may be warranted. The Committee will submit a report of its recommendations to the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Agriculture to assist their Departments in preparing the 2005 Dietary Guidelines.

The DGAC members have begun a thorough review of the recent science, determining which materials to examine, and deciding what scientific conclusions to draw from these materials in order to make their recommendations. Only after the DGAC's advisory report is received will HHS and USDA develop the 2005 Dietary Guidelines. When HHS and USDA develop the 2005 Dietary Guidelines, they will do so in a manner that is consistent with all applicable information quality requirements.

Your Request for Correction also mentions a press release announcing the designation of the DGAC members and stating that they would "examine the new Dietary Reference Intakes by the Institute of Medicine; the World Health Organization report on Diet, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases; and other recent scientific research." Based on your stated concerns about the quality of the World Health Organization (WHO) report, you request that the press release be retracted because it "appears to commit" the DGAC to "relying on scientific recommendations" in the WHO's document. Please be advised that neither HHS nor USDA require the DGAC to rely on scientific information in the WHO report or in any other available sources. Rather, as noted above, the DGAC will review the current science and independently report its judgment to HHS and USDA. The press release was a factual statement about process, namely, that the DGAC will examine diverse scientific documents in the course of its work. Thus, the press release is accurate in what it communicated, and there is no reason to retract it.

The DGAC conducts its work in public sessions. The first meeting was held September 23 and 24, 2003. Information about its future meetings will be published in the Federal Register and will also be available at http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines. Minutes of the meetings will be posted on that Web site. The public is encouraged to submit written comments throughout the process. Written comments can be sent to dietaryguidelines@osophs.dhhs.gov or mailed to Kathryn McMurry, HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Room 738-G, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20201. The DGAC report will be published in the Federal Register for public review and comment.

We would like to let you know that you may appeal the decision of the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture either in writing or electronically within 35 days of receiving this response to either Department. Your request should state the reasons for your appeal. It does not need to reference a tracking number, but it should include a copy of your original request and this response, and be marked clearly with the words "Information Quality Appeal." The request may be sent electronically to mkretschmaier@osophs.dhhhs.gov or by hard copy to Executive Officer, Office of Public Health and Science, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201 or by hard copy to Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, 3101 Park Center Drive, Room 1034, Alexandria, VA 22302-1594.

Thank you again for your letter. We hope you will continue to share your suggestions for ensuring that the dietary guidance given to Americans is sound and useful.

Sincerely,

Carter Blakey 
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health 
(Disease Prevention and Health Promotion) 
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Date:

Eric J. Hentges, Ph.D. 
Executive Director, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion 
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Date:

Prepared by:CBaur:tl:205-2979:12/24/03:p:tammy/Response to CRE 122303


1These guidelines were issued pursuant to, and are consistent with: (1) the Office of Management and Budget "Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agencies" (OMB Guidelines); and (2) section 515 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001.

2National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990 §301(a), 7 U.S.C. §5341 (2003).

37 U.S.C. §5341(b).

4HHS Guidelines §A; USDA Guidelines, "General Information."

Last Revised:  August, 2004