Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sam Kass Pushes MyPlate At Food Conference

Speaking at a conference for food technologists in New Orleans on Monday, Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass (above) stressed the role of food corporations as important players in the Let's Move! battle to end childhood obesity, and urged the adoption of USDA's new MyPlate food icon.

“There is no food company out there manufacturing something that doesn’t have a place on this plate,” Kass said. “It is important to remember that one icon itself can’t do everything. It’s only as strong as its partnerships and the people who embrace it.”

Kass' visit to the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo at the New Orleans Memorial Convention Center is part of ongoing outreach for MyPlate, unveiled by First Lady Obama on June 2nd, and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Kass told reporters at a press conference following his speech that the guidelines offer a significant way for food science technologists to develop products that both taste good and are consistent with the Federal eating recommendations.

Mrs. Obama, Kass said, is urging the adoption of the plate as a way to help families feed their kids healthier foods.

“She’s made it clear that any tools we give to Americans must be applicable to their daily lives,” Kass said of the First Lady's efforts.

The food plate tool, however, is missing one important thing: Neither the White House nor USDA has said what size America's dinner plates should be. Should they be 9 inches? 12 inches? The plate size specifications are left open to users' imaginations, though limiting portion size is encouraged by the Dietary Guidelines.

However large the plate, the MyPlate icon is being used when creating First Family meals at the White House, both Kass and Mrs. Obama have said. Kass recently demonstrated new White House recipes for use with the MyPlate icon, during live appearances on Good Morning America and on the Today show.

Download the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans [PDF]. Check out for more on the icon.

*Photo by Eddie Gehman Kohan/ObamaFoodorama