On Oct. 21 we lost former U.S. Sen. George McGovern. Although many will recall his disastrous 1972 loss to Richard Nixon and his subsequent leadership in getting us out of Vietnam, his truly lasting legacy will be his war on hunger and malnutrition.
In 1977, following extensive public hearings, McGovern’s Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs published Dietary Goals for the United States, a precursor to today’s dietary guidelines. It marked the first time that a U.S. government document recommended reduced meat consumption.
The meat industry forced the committee to destroy all copies of the report and to remove the offending recommendation from a new edition. It then abolished the committee, voted McGovern out of office, and warned government bureaucrats never to challenge meat consumption again.