News Update

April 19, 2005

Experts to Travel Overseas

A team of experts on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) will travel to South Korea and Japan in hopes of resuming U.S. beef and beef product exports, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns announced yesterday.

The delegation, led by Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Charles Lambert, is scheduled to travel to South Korea April 19-22 for technical discussions with government officials and informational sessions with the media, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported. The team will then meet with Japanese officials April 25-27 for additional discussions and sessions with consumers, scientists, and government and business representatives.

During the series of meetings, experts will review U.S. BSE prevention measures and encourage the two governments to adopt import regulations in closer compliance with World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines. Following the delegation’s meetings, both Japan and South Korea are expected to send a reciprocal technical team to the United States to review beef production and processing systems.

Food Pyramid Transforms

A new symbol and interactive food guidance system replaced the well-known Food Guide Pyramid today. Secretary Johanns unveiled MyPyramid this morning as part of an overall food guidance system emphasizing the need for a more individualized approach to improving diet and lifestyle.

According to a USDA release, the new tool incorporates recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, released earlier this year, that promote proper dietary choices and reduce the risk of chronic disease. MyPyramid, found at, is meant to make Americans more aware of the health benefits of simple and modest improvements in nutrition, physical activity and lifestyle behavior.

The MyPyramid symbol, which is deliberately simple, represents the recommended proportion of foods from each food group and focuses on the importance of making smart food choices. Six color bands represent the food groups, while a triangle shape and narrowing bands represent moderation and varied proportions. Physical activity is also depicted in the symbol. MyPyramid’s slogan, “Steps to a Healthier You,” also suggests that individuals can benefit from improved diet and exercise by taking small steps to achieve their health goals.

At, individuals can enter their age, gender and physical activity level for a more personalized recommendation on daily calorie level. In-depth information, food calculations and tips and resources are featured on the Web site as well.

A child-friendly version for teachers and children is being developed. For additional information visit the Web site. For the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 and a consumer brochure, visit

compiled by Crystal Albers, Angus Productions Inc. assistant editor

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