In January, I released a report called, And Now a Word from Our Sponsors: Are America’s Nutrition Professionals in the Pocket of Big Food? The report continues to receive media attention, in part due to a Change.org petition asking the Academy to clean up its act. Be sure to sign on. Also, please support Dietitians for Professional Integrity, a new group of dedicated registered dietitians working to change the Academy’s sponsorship policies.
Posts Tagged ‘Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’
Proving that a good story just won’t die, the current issue of the Progressive takes an in-depth look at my report from January on the conflicted corporate sponsorships of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. And good timing too, because registered dietitian Andy Bellatti’s Change.org petition on this subject is gathering steam.
Is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Silencing its Members Who Object to McDonald’s Sponsoring Lunch?
2/28 Postscript: In happy news, Tara Marino reports that after an exchange with Lauren Fox (social media manager for AND), she will be reinstated. Fox claimed that Marino’s comments were not the reason for her removal but rather AND was deleting all non-members of the Academy. Marino provided her member number, which cleared things up. However, still no word back from the California affiliate.
I received the following email from registered dietitian Tara Marino who says she was recently “deleted” from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics LinkedIn group after expressing support for my report on the organization’s questionable corporate sponsors. (See previous post on a similar silencing attempt.)
In the first few days after my report on the conflicted corporate sponsorship of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Academy’s response was to make vague accusations about “factual inaccuracies” contained in my report. After I complained about AND’s failure to be specific, they posted this list entitled, “Addressing Inaccuracies of the ‘And Now a Word from Our Sponsors’ Report.” It sure looks impressive, with 14 items I supposedly got wrong. However, upon closer inspection, it’s just more of the same public relations spin from a desperate organization.
A colleague sent me the following email message that went out to members of the Missouri Dietetics Association (MDA). I think it pretty much speaks for itself. See note at the end, which includes: “Do not reply to this message, as this is not a discussion forum.” Obviously not. Continue reading →
A friend sent me the below email response, sent to a colleague of his who inquired about my recent report on corporate sponsorship of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the nation’s trade group for registered dietitians. It contains many similar misdirects and insults, as opposed to addressing the issue at hand. Just more evidence the organization’s leadership is tone-deaf to its own members‘ concerns.
In the report I recently released, (covered by the New York Times) “And Now a Word from Our Sponsors,” I described the various ways the food industry influences the largest trade group of nutrition professionals: the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. While other corporations such as Coca-Cola play a more prominent role by being an “Academy Partner,” McDonald’s engaged in its trademark health-washing at the Academy’s annual meeting last fall.
Read rest at Corporate Accountability International…
Public health attorney and author Michele Simon asks: Are America’s nutrition professionals in the pocket of Big Food? While the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ 74,000-member trade group partners with the likes of Coke and Hershey’s, the nation’s health continues to suffer from poor diet.
The largest trade group of nutrition professionals—the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics—has a serious credibility problem. In a damning report released today, industry watchdog Eat Drink Politics examines the various forms of corporate sponsorship by Big Food that are undermining the integrity of those professionals most responsible for educating Americans about healthy eating.
The report details, for example, how registered dietitians can earn continuing education units from Coca-Cola, in which they learn that sugar is not a problem for children and how Nestlé, the world’s largest food company can pay $50,000 to host a two-hour “nutrition symposium” at the Academy’s annual meeting. Additional disturbing findings from the report include:
- Beginning in 2001, the Academy listed 10 food industry sponsors; the 2011 annual report lists 38, a more than three-fold increase;
- Companies on the Academy’s list of approved continuing education providers include Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, Nestlé, and PepsiCo;
- At the 2012 annual meeting, 18 organizations – less than five percent of all exhibitors – captured 25 percent of the total exhibitor space. Only two out of the 18 represented whole, non-processed foods;
- The Corn Refiners Association (lobbyists for high fructose corn syrup) sponsored three “expo impact” sessions at the 2012 annual meeting;
- A majority of registered dietitians surveyed found three current Academy sponsors “unacceptable” (Coca-Cola, Mars, and PepsiCo);
- 80 percent of registered dietitians said sponsorship implies Academy endorsement of that company and their products;
- The Academy has not supported controversial nutrition policies that might upset corporate sponsors, such as limits on soft drink sizes, soda taxes, or GMO labels;
- Sponsors and their activities appear to violate the Academy’s own sponsorship guidelines.
Among the report’s recommendations are for the Academy to: 1) provide greater transparency on corporate funding sources; 2) gather input from all members on corporate sponsorship; 3) reject all corporate-sponsored education; and 4) provide better leadership on controversial nutrition policy issues. Registered dietitian and Academy member Andy Bellatti, who has long criticized his professional group’s conflicted corporate sponsorships said:
Michele Simon’s report on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is thoroughly researched and expertly points out the different ways in which the nation’s leading nutrition organization harms its reputation, efficacy, and members by forming partnerships with food companies that care more about selling products than they do about improving the health of Americans. Anyone concerned about public health will realize that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is in dire need of systemic change if it hopes to take a leadership role and be taken seriously as the home base of the nation’s nutrition experts.
- Full Report
- Executive Summary
- Former Academy Members Speak Out
- Image Gallery (Big Food booths at annual meeting)
- New York Times Story
Contact: Michele Simon at (510) 465-0322 or Michele@EatDrinkPolitics.com
Booth displays at Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Expo. (photos by Andy Bellatti)
I recently attended the annual gathering of the largest trade group of nutrition professionals, which I also covered last year. Look out for complete report from me in the coming months. Meantime, I am pleased to share the experience of one registered dietitian, Andy Bellatti.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) hosted its 2012 Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) earlier this month. Sadly, the event once again (see last year’s report) demonstrated how this registered dietitians’ accrediting organization drags its own credential through the mud by prioritizing Big Food’s corporate interests over sound nutrition and public health.