(Aug. 13) Fruits and vegetables may just claim the base of the pyramid after all.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee indicated Aug. 11 it will raise the recommended daily consumption of fruits and vegetables from five to nine servings to five to 13 servings, according to industry officials who attended the committee’s final meeting.

The recommendation for grains apparently remained unchanged at six to 11 servings, said Kathy Means, vice president of government relations for the Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del.

In the draft, the committee’s recommendation of five to 13 serving of fruits and vegetables a day was expressed as 2½ to 7½ cups a day, she said.

“We may have a good shot at the base of the pyramid,” she said.

Overall, the committee stressed increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grain bread and low or no fat dairy.

The committee’s recommendations are expected to be formally presented to Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman the week of Aug. 23, according to a news release from the Produce for Better Health Foundation, Wilmington, Del.

Elizabeth Pivonka, president of the foundation, said in an Aug. 11 news release that it was gratifying to see the committee recognize research provided by PBH that shows fruits and vegetables play a key role in a diet that promotes good health.

She said PBH is hopeful that the recommendations will be preserved in the final report from the committee, which will be released in early 2005.

Meanwhile, she noted that PBH will continue to argue for a strong presence for fruits and vegetables in the food pyramid graphic.

The USDA’s Food Guide Pyramid is being revisited and the new version is expected to be released shortly after the report from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

If the government’s dietary guidance is changed from five to nine a day to five to 13 a day, it is likely that the National Cancer Institutes official logo will eventually change as well, said Chris Filardo, director of public relations for PBH. The logo is licensed to PBH for industry use in marketing efforts.