Court Dismisses Suit Against Dietary Guideline Committee

Judge says cholesterol studies, to which the egg industry contributed $100,000, do not unfairly influence the dietary guidelines.

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Earlier this month, a federal court dismissed a lawsuit filed by vegan medical group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) against the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC). After obtaining documents through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in January, PCRM filed the lawsuit, which alleged that the DGAC—a group of presumably unbiased health professionals who gather every five years to create the Dietary Guidelines for Americans—was unduly influenced by the egg industry in the form of industry-backed studies. The suit also claimed that the DGAC was influenced by the appointment of several committee members from institutions funded by the egg industry to remove the recommended limits on cholesterol consumption—as published in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans published last year. The court ruled PCRM’s claims were “non-justiciable,” stating that there are no rules for limiting the amount of industry influence the DGAC can accept. The dietary guidelines are intended to serve public health projects such as the creation of food policies, including school lunch programs. The influence of standing dietary guidelines also affects reporting in the media. TIME recently published a feature urging readers to abstain from consuming egg whites and to instead consume egg yolks, using the new dietary guidelines as proof positive that cholesterol is no longer a concern to the American public.