Establishing the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee
The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has been established to review the scientific evidence to help inform USDA and HHS as they develop the next edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Committee is formed and governed under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which provides standards for the formation and use of advisory committees.
The scientific review conducted by the Committee will be directed by the topics and supporting questions that reflect public comments, and focus on patterns of what we eat and drink over time to help prevent disease and keep people healthy – from birth into older adulthood.
The Departments will consider the Committee’s scientific review, along with public and Federal agency comments, as it develops the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Call for Nominations
On September 6, 2018, USDA and HHS issued a 30-day public request for nominations to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (see the Press Release). Information on what was required in the nomination package can be found in the Federal Register notice. The following factors were considered by the Departments in reviewing nominations:
- Educational background — advanced degree in nutrition- or health-related field, including registered dietitians, nutrition scientists, physicians, and those with public health degrees
- Professional experience — at least 10 years of experience as an academic, researcher, practitioner, or other health professional in a field related to one or more of the topics to be examined; consideration of leadership experience and participation on previous committees or panels
- Demonstrated scientific expertise — expertise related to one or more of the topics to be examined by the committee as demonstrated by number and quality of peer-reviewed publications and presentations
- Obligations under the Federal Advisory Committee Act — ensuring the Committee is balanced fairly in points of view and types of expertise
- Requirements regarding a balanced membership — including, to the extent possible, individuals who are minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and representatives from different geographic areas and institutions
Review of Nominations
All complete nomination packages were reviewed by program staff from USDA Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services (FNCS), the USDA Research, Education, and Economics (REE), and the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH). Nominees were then evaluated by the USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretaries of FNCS and REE, in consultation with the HHS Assistant Secretary for Health. Each nomination package was examined using the factors listed above. For nominees who met the criteria, a potential candidate’s expertise was also evaluated against other potential members of the Advisory Committee to support a balanced committee with a diversity of expertise across the topic areas.
The vetting process also included a background check by the USDA Office of the Secretary to determine if any of the candidates had a financial, ethical, legal, and/or criminal conflict of interest that would prohibit them from serving on the Committee.
Prior to appointment, each committee member submitted a financial disclosure report to the USDA Office of Ethics. Each report was reviewed by USDA ethics officials for financial conflicts of interest and compliance with Federal ethics rules. Officials from USDA’s Office of Ethics ensured interests and affiliations of appointed Advisory Committee members comply with applicable conflict of interest statutes, regulations issued by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, supplemental agency requirements, and other applicable Federal ethics rules. View the letter from the USDA Office of Ethics about the Advisory Committee. Annually throughout their tenure on the Committee, each member will submit a financial disclosure report and receive ethics training.
The Secretaries of USDA and HHS reviewed formal nomination recommendations, then jointly agreed on individuals to appoint to serve on the Committee, and as Chair and Vice Chair.