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USDA food pyramid to be retired tomorrow

The familiar MyPyramid food guide image will be replaced with a new icon tomorrow.
The USDA will introduce America to a new "food icon" tomorrow during a national online press conference, the agency has announced. The New York Times reported over the weekend that MyPyramid (right) will be replaced by a simple, plate-shaped symbol, cut into four wedges - one for fruit, one vegetables, one whole grains and one protein. A small circle on the side will represent dairy.

The article said the Times sourced its information from "several people who have been briefed on the change." It reported that USDA spent about $2 million to develop and promote the new logo, conduct research and focus groups and create the website.

In its announcement about tomorrow's roll out, USDA said the new food icon will be part of a comprehensive nutrition communication initiative that provides consumers with easy-to-understand recommendations, the new website, plus other tools and resources. Tomorrow's press conference will be live-streamed at http://www.usda.gov/live beginning at 7:30 a.m. Pacific Time. A press kit and other information will be available tomorrow at http://www.cnpp.usda.gov.

Americans have been following a pyramid-shaped eating guide for nearly 20 years. The original Food Guide Pyramid, released in 1992, showed a hierarchy of foods, with those that should make up a greater portion of the diet depicted on a wide base, tapering up to smaller quantities at the top. The pyramid had grains as the foundation, fruits and vegetables making up the next largest section, followed by meats and dairy and, in a tiny section at the top, added fats and sugar.

The pyramid was turned on its side in 2005 when USDA introduced the revised "MyPyramid." Vertical strips represented the different food groups and a stick figure running up the side emphasized the need for exercise.

Look for a summary of the news conference, a link to the new website and a picture of the new USDA icon in the UC Food Blog tomorrow.

Posted on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 9:02 AM

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