(Sept. 7) “A range of five to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables each day is recommended for daily energy intakes of 1,200 to 3,200 calories.”

That declaration was included in an Aug. 27 report from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

The report is the foundation for 2005 Dietary Guidelines that will be released early next year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Federal law calls for a review of dietary guidelines every five years, and the committee — appointed jointly by the two agencies — has been developing updated guidelines based on the latest science since members were appointed in 2003.

The USDA will incorporate the 2005 Dietary Guidelines in its new version of the agency’s nutritional graphic, also scheduled for unveiling in the first quarter of next year.

The USDA’s graphic has featured the food pyramid since 1992, but the agency’s new one could be a modified pyramid or something different.

Comments on the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report will be taken at a Sept. 21 public meeting, and written comments will be accepted online through Sept. 27 at www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines.

POSITIVE REACTION:

Produce industry lobbyists welcomed the chance to add their support to the committee’s intention to increase the federal recommendation for daily fruit and vegetable consumption from the standard of five to nine servings.

Tracy Fox, nutrition consultant to the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Wilmington, Del., noted the committee’s wide range in recommended servings will require education.

The average consumer will need seven to 10 servings a day, she said.

The committee also referred to the five to 13 daily recommendation in another common measure — from 2½ cups to 6½ cups.

Fox said that perhaps cups and serving sizes should be used in communicating nutrition guidance to consumers.

Another graphic — maybe a dinner plate or a pie chart — could be used to show the recommended daily consumption of fruits and vegetables compared with other foods.

Aside from its recommendation of five to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, the committee also urged consumption of a variety of fruits and vegetables.

While not spelling out a warning to limit sugar intake — which Fox said was “wimpy”— the committee did say to decrease intake of “less nutrient dense foods” as fruit and vegetable consumption increases.

The committee agreed that scientific research supports the positive effect of increased fruit and vegetable consumption.