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Mr. MacKay. Excuse me, I don't mean to be argumentative, but that system, which has got to be the best possible system, I am not criticizing. But that system assumes you have unlimited dollars. If you don't have unlimited dollars, then you have got to say, or somebody has got to say, I think research in this area is more important to the society I serve than research in this area. It seems to me you have said that.

Dr. WYNGAARDEN. Yes. That also impinges on the decisions and it comes about in a number of ways. At present, 24 percent of the NIH budget is essentially mandated by congressional action, about 8 percent by legislative language, about 16 percent by report language. So a quarter of our budget is already fairly well mandated

that way

We are also organized, as you know, in categorical institutes. And the budget that Congress provides for one institute compared with another carry with it a message. We have, as I have indicated, a two-tier peer review system. The first examines proposals for scientific merit and technical feasibility. The second, the council mechanism, looks at broader issues and includes the kind of priorities that you have alluded to.

Some of the institute councils have gone farther in this direction than others and have actually set a percentage of their budgets in specific fields-not, perhaps, specific research projects, but specific fields—to address just the point that you are raising.

Mr. MacKay. Let me pose a kind of hypothetical case. Let me use my profession; I am a lawyer.

If there was a new branch of the law which had great promise and someone was disseminating research dollars and the peer review councils were made up of people in older branches of the law, that new branch would get about 4 percent.

I am trying to ask you who is making the policy decision in trying to drive the system in policy directions and not letting the peer review mechanism, in effect, capture the system and make it do what they know how to do?

I think you are the person who should be accountable for that kind of question. And if you are not, who is?

Dr. WYNGAARDEN. We are accountable for the decisions made. There is no denying that.

The peer review system does operate to establish priorities and the advisory systems impinge on that, and congressional directives impinge on that. And out of that come the decisions that are made; the budgetary allocations that are made. Four percent for nutritional work, it seems to me, is not a small percentage when you consider the range of problems that the NIH wants to address.

Dr. BRANDT. One other thing that I am not going to argue is that our knowledge is complete, or that we are obviously doing as much as conceivably could be done. But I think the ultimate end point has to be the health of the American people.

We monitor that in a whole variety of ways, and every year all of those reports are much better. In 1982 our report on the health of the American people shows the best record in the history of this country. So something is happening that I think is important.

I also think it is important to go back to something that you said earlier; namely, that the American people are interested in nutrition. The best example of that, I think, is to go into the grocery store and go through and see how much of the advertising is now aimed at nutritional quality rather than just other kinds of things.

Our sodium initiative, for example, where companies went in and absolutely developed new foods that were low in sodium because the consumer was concerned about that, and because I think we had raised their level of awareness of this as a problem.

So I think, in fact, the nutrition efforts in this country are accelerating at a marked rate. We are clearly suffering somewhat from lack of knowledge of a number of years ago-osteoporosis being one example—where I suspect had we known as much as we do now the incidence or prevalence of that disease would not be nearly as great as it is at the moment.

I think we are making progress. I think the system of setting priorities, as I said, is a complex one. We would still feel that scientific feasibility is one of the most important-should be one of the most important components of that whole priority system. That is what must, it seems to me, ultimately be the real test.

Mr. MacKay. Mr. Chairman, you have these hearings, I presume, every year. I will be asking you about that 4 percent next year.

Dr. BRANDT. Yes, sir.

Mr. BROWN. Gentlemen, obviously the committee is interested in what you are doing. We would like to spend more time inquiring. I am not sure we are justified in view of the fact we have to hear from the Department of Agriculture yet, but I am willing to impose on you for just another couple of minutes.

Reading this Science article, I was intrigued by the frank discussion of the decisionmaking process that you go through and it is an excellent picture of you, Dr. Wyngaarden.

Dr. WYNGAARDEN. Thank you.

Mr. Brown. But it says here that you originally proposed reducing the number of grants to 3,676 in order to maintain the program in the research centers and that OMB said no. You, therefore, made the decision, based upon the scientific merit of all the applications for competitive grants, that they again ought to be 5,000 and you would take 140 million out of the research centers, including eliminating, I think it says here, 51 of the specialized research centers.

Now, I presume that is a fairly accurate description other than a little editorializing in my tone of voice of what happened there.

Dr. WYNGAARDEN. Yes; that's right. In the January submission of the budget we had included 1,300 fewer—3,674 is the precise figure for investigator-initiated research project grants, new and competing research project grants. Later we received a decision from OMB that we should fund 5,000 within the existing budget and, therefore, the budgetary shifts.

Mr. BROWN. And it says here you are not permitted to lobby in favor of your original decision but that you can respond, if asked, and that your answer is that it would take another $305 million to bring the programs up to scratch. Is that roughly it?

Dr. WYNGAARDEN. Well, the specific question was how much money would it require to fund the programs of the January

budget without any reductions, without any downward negotiation of the size of the grants, and so on. That figure was $305 million.

Mr. Brown. Including maintaining the nutrition research?

Dr. WYNGAARDEN. Including maintaining nutrition and other centers; yes.

Mr. BROWN. All right. I don't want to belabor that.
I wanted to ask you another point or two; however--

Dr. BRANDT. Mr. Brown, could I just make sure that the record is clear-that no decision has been made about those two nutrition research centers that come up for renewal this year. They will be under competitive renewal but nobody has- I just want to be sure that you understand that nobody has said those two are not going to be renewed yet.

Mr. BROWN. Then we have a similar situation, do we not, in those centers funded by the Department of Agriculture?

Dr. BRANDT. You will have to talk to them about that.

I am concerned about the Federal human nutrition research plan which was one of the things the joint subcommittee was going to be doing and which has been referred to by GAO studies, and others, as being an important ingredient in the overall research coordination.

Is one of you able to tell me what the prospects look like for developing a research plan? And I am not talking about the management information system.

Dr. BRANDT. The research plan that we have submitted on an annual basis is what you are talking about? No?

Mr. BROWN. No. We are referring to one that was recommended by GAO and at one point OSTP had indicated they were going to

go ahead.

Dr. BRANDT. Yes; we will, with the new mechanism that the two departments are setting up with Dr. Bentley and I, will in fact go ahead with that effort.

Mr. BROWN. That will be high on the agenda--
Dr. BRANDT. Yes, sir.
Mr. BROWN (continuing]. New mechanism?
Dr. BRANDT. Yes, sir.

Mr. BROWN. You don't want to assert that you will have that ready for us in any preconceived timeframe, I presume?

Dr. BRANDT. No, sir, I would prefer not to. Mr. BROWN. We can raise it again next year, can we? Dr. BRANDT. I really hope that you don't have that opportunity, Mr. Brown, in the sense that you will have it in front of you.

Mr. MacKay. Mr. Chairman, I would like in all seriousness to indicate that you can expect that to be in next year's agenda.

Dr. BRANDT. Yes, sir.

Mr. BROWN. I think that Dr. Brandt knows that we have a certain continuity in these things.

I must say that observing Dr. Brandt's performance over the past 3 years that it is getting better all the time. Dr. BRANDT. Thank you very much, sir.

Mr. BROWN. All right, I am willing to defer any further questions.

I have had called to my attention an advertisement which I will show you. It says “Vegetables are good for you. Cabbage, brussel sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, spinach and broccoli versus cancer. But the product that is being sold, which I am sure is a very good product, is some kind of an incapsulated vegetable. They freeze-dry them or something like that. It claims, I guess, that this will cure cancer.

I am just wondering if the FDA or other agencies have any programs that would involve monitoring and restraining advertisements of this kind, which I am sure is for a perfectly healthy food but it can cause the wrong impression in the minds of some impressionable people.

Dr. MILLER. And some nonimpressionable people, too, it turns


We have already been undertaking action in this area and making inquiries and preparing our documents concerning that. We have written to the company indicating that their statements are not supportable as the first step in this action.

Certainly one of the most difficult areas of developing nutrition programs is keeping tabs on that because the claims and the hopes that these claims raise in people. Every time a report comes out like the NAS, all of the research that comes out of NIH, is unbelievable. And there are always people willing to take advantage of it. It is a very difficult problem.

Mr. BROWN. There is always an element of truth in here. I am sure that even dehydrated and pelletized vegetables are good for you


you don't overdo it but whether they can cure cancer or not is another problem.

Thank you very much, gentlemen. I am sorry we don't have more time to spend with you but we will make up for it next time.

We may want to submit questions in writing to you if we may. [See followup questions and answers, appendix A, page 197.]

Mr. BROWN. Our next witness is Hon. Richard Lyng, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, who will be accompanied by Mary Jarratt, Assistant Secretary for Food and Consumer Services, and Dr. Orville Bentley, Assistant Secretary for Science and Education.

All right. We are very pleased to have this distinguished delegation from the Department of Agriculture here and apologize for the delay that we had. We would invite you to proceed, Mr. Lyng, with your testimony and, of course, the full text of it will be included in the record at this point.


Mr. LYNG. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the subcommittees.

My colleagues and I are pleased to appear before you today to discuss the Department's activities regarding human nutrition research, education, and information.

I am accompanied by Dr. Orville Bentley, Assistant Secretary for Science and Education; Mary Jarratt, Assistant Secretary for Food and Consumer Services; Isabel Wolf, Administrator, Human Nutrition Information Service; and Dr. Donald Therriault, Associate Director of the Agriculture Research Service Human Nutrition Research Center at Beltsville.

Secretaries Bentley and Jarratt have prepared statements which will expand upon my remarks, and provide appropriate detail concerning activities in their respective areas.

A little over a year ago, we reported to the subcommittee that human nutrition research, education and information represent a commitment of the highest priority within the Department of Agriculture.

Our proposed funding of over $44 million for human nutrition research in the 1984 budget is evidence of our continued commitment in this area.

Since before the turn of the century, the Department of Agriculture has conducted a program of research in food and human nutrition and has made the results of this research available so that people could make informed food choices.

The results of the Department's research in human nutrition have benefited the nutritional health and well-being of millions in this country and throughout the world.

The Department's human nutrition research program concentrates on five areas specifically mandated by Congress in the Food and Agriculture Act of 1977.

These five areas are: Nutrition monitoring of the population; the nutrient composition of foods; factors affecting food practices and preferences; food program evaluation; and human nutrition requirements.

The first four of these are the responsibility of the Assistant Secretary for Food and Consumer Services. Determining nutrient requirements and methods for analyzing the nutrient content of food are the responsibility of the Assistant Secretary for Science and Education.

Miss Jarratt and Dr. Bentley will discuss these in greater detail.

Your committees have been major proponents of a coordinated national nutrition monitoring system. Since our report to you last year, we have made considerable progress in activities defined as the Department of Agriculture's responsibilities in the joint USDADHHS implementation plan.

We have taken important steps leading to initiation of a continuing survey of the food intakes of individuals to begin in fiscal year 1985.

We have obtained approval for the charter for the Joint Nutrition Monitoring Evaluation Committee.

We have held the first of two Data Users Conferences co-sponsored with the Department of Health and Human Services. And, we have made considerable progress in filling gaps in our knowledge of food composition.

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