Posts Tagged ‘American Dietetic Association’

Nutrition, Inc: In-depth Story in Progressive Magazine

 

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.

You can download the Progressive article here. Thanks to investigative journalist Christopher Cook for such great coverage. Is anyone at the Academy listening yet?

 

 

 

How Did My Profession’s Conference Get Hijacked by Big Food? (Guest post by Andy Bellatti)

Coca-Cola promoting the RDNational ConfectionersThe HFCS folks

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.

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Lawsuit Alleges Frito-Lay’s GMO Snacks Aren’t “Natural”

In August, I reported on a lawsuit against ConAgra for deceptive labeling of its Wesson brand of cooking oils as “natural.” The case alleges that the products contain genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), which are not by any stretch of the imagination, natural. A similar case was recently filed in California (by the same class action firm – Milberg) against Frito-Lay — the snacks division of food and beverage giant PepsiCo.

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Pesticides Are Good for You

For years now, I have been hearing about the food industry’s influence on the annual conference of the American Dietetic Association — the nation’s largest gathering of nutrition professionals–with some 7,000 registered dietitians in attendance. Last month, I witnessed it for myself and discovered the corporate takeover by Big Food was worse than I even imagined. Read rest at Food Safety News…

Big Food Goes North to Buy Out Dietitians of Canada Too

Some things in Canada just seem so much more sane than here in the states. Better (any) health care of course is the most touted reason to move north of the border.

If you’re like me and many others fed up with the American Dietetic Association’s ongoing affiliation with the likes of Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and McDonald’s, (see previous post and comments) you might wonder if this insane hypocrisy is something unique to America. You might think that dietitians in a country humane enough to provide its citizens with decent health care would steer clear of Big Food influence over its nutrition professionals. I am sorry to report that this is not the case.

As recently described in painful detail by a Canadian dietitian blogger (Nutrition Nibbles) Sybil Hebert, the ADA equivalent trade group, Dietitians of Canada (DC) “partners with industry, including Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Monsanto, and Nestle.” As a new member, Ms. Hebert was not happy to learn this troubling information, and inspired by Marion Nestle’s call to ADA members on the same topic, decided to make her distaste known with a letter of her own.

Her impressive missive details numerous examples of industry partnerships such as raking in over $200,000 dollars from corporate sponsorships, including the pharmaceutical industry. She concludes with this reasonable request to the organization’s leadership:

Board of Directors, as long as DC continues to align itself with food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries, and rely on these corporations for funding, it will never be respected, and neither will I. As a member of the purported “nation-wide voice of dietitians,” I hope my voice, and my concerns, are heard, and that DC will carefully review its advertising and sponsorship policies to recognize the many conflicts of interest that exist, and their consequences, and take steps to minimize them in order to restore DC’s credibility.

Well said. I’ve heard from many dietitians in the U.S. who are no longer members of the ADA for this very reason, that the organization cannot be respected as long as it is compromised.

Unfortunately, the DC leadership has not taken too kindly to Ms. Hebert’s request, and in particular to the fact that she has posted her letter on her blog. Despite (or maybe because of) the many comments in support, Ms. Hebert has received more than one email asking her to take down the post. 

What is the leadership of Dietitians of Canada so afraid of? It’s certainly no secret that the organization partners with industry. It only took me a minute to find the program for DC’s upcoming annual conference in Montreal, which lists among its sponsors: General Mills, Danone, Unilever, PepsiCo, and a plethora of drug companies. In just one day you can attend the Kellogg Breakfast, followed by the Kellogg Nutrition Symposium, and then take a Kellogg break. Maybe the Dietitians of Canada should consider changing its name to Dietitians of Kellogg. Then again, maybe that would make all those other corporate sponsors too upset.

This isn’t the first time the trade group has been called out for its conflict of interest. Dr. Yoni Freedhoff is a family doctor in Ottawa who has wondered (among other conflicts) what the heck the Dietitians of Canada was doing putting out a joint press release last year with the Dairy Farmers of Canada making nutrition recommendations that essentially served as a “milk advertisement” (his words).

Professional associations such as the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada must renounce their corporate affiliations and stop taking money from the very companies that are undermining their own members’ ability to do help people eat right. Until they do so, these groups risk becoming little more than a tool of corporate interests, which is exactly what Big Food wants.

We need more dietitians like Sybil Hebert taking a public stand. Please post comments both here and on her blog in support and if you’re a member of either the American Dietetic Association or Dietitians of Canada voice your concerns directly to the leadership. If you’re no longer a member, tell them why you left. Together, our voices can make a difference.

How did the American Dietetic Association get taken over by Big Food?

A colleague sent me this image of the tote bag from the 2008 American Dietetic Association annual meeting. Is it any wonder why Americans are confused about how to eat when the nation’s top nutrition-advice professional group has been co-opted by the very corporations making people sick?

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