M. Nestle: "This may not look much like action, but it is a sharp departure from previous USDA icons (which USDA has delightfully put online)." She also praises the organization for saying "eat less" and taking on salt in a political climate strongly against these changes.
Why is dairy moved out to the side? Two reasons. First is that, all of milk's advertising to the contrary, you don't actually have to have milk or milk products in order to get all the nutrients you need. You can get calcium from a fairly wide selection (pasta, rice, bread, broccoli, green beans, several other legumes if you're into that kind of thing, half a dozen nuts - not peanuts or cashews, sadly - sardines or salmon, apricots, oranges) not to mention vitamin pills, and it's not exactly like we're currently hurting for places to put a little cheese. Second is that the plate gets a bit messy otherwise. They almost came out with a plate with dairy on it in 1992 but the guidance is less clear than this.
That doesn't mean it doesn't have it's lighter side... (comics below the fold)
(Obama sits in the Oval Office while people outside hold up empty plates with the word "Jobs" written on them. An advisor says, "I think they want you to redesign the food pyramid.")
From the realm of alternative headlines:
New Food Chart Shows Non-Registered Foods' Anger is Growing: 'Obama Ain't Gonna Tell Us What We Are' declares 24% "undecided" foods.
Vatican now says limbo actually plate-shaped, not pyramid-shaped. Sullen Pope blames 'the 70s' for error.