I know, this is not my normal post but I am participating in the #RepealTheSeal campaign to show my disagreement with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recent decision to allow the Kids Eat Right (KER) logo onto food packaging.
What’s the issue at hand? In a nutshell, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, my professional organization, approved the use of a “Kid’s Eat Right” (KER) seal to be placed on Kraft Singles, a processed cheese food. I already have a huge issue with the corporate sponsorship AND accepts and this move just takes it too far. They approved this “partnership” with Kraft without a vote from their membership and without regard for the impact it would have on the very RDs they serve.
Dietitians all over the country are more than a little bit angry at this blatant lack of ethics. So much so there is an RD-authored petition to #repealtheseal on change.org. There are over 7,000 signatures so far and we need yours, too!
This segment on The Daily Show pretty much explains how I feel about the food industry in general. Although it’s quite funny, I am more disappointed than I am amused. I have always been one of the good guys and I don’t like me (or the AND) being lumped in with the un-savories.
It is very disheartening to see our good reputation smeared in the media due to the lone actions of the AND. Now we have to spend our time and effort to undue the damage done by their lack of judgment, forethought, and ethics. The worst part is that the AND is not admitting any wrong doing. They deny the seal is an endorsement of Kraft singles. Really? It looks like an endorsement to everyone else who has a brain.
If you know me personally, you know I get passionate about issues. As a promoter of clean eating, getting off highly processed foods, eating out less, and cooking more this “endorsement” is maddening.
You might wonder why I would stay a member of the AND. It’s a valid question and my husband asked me the very same thing. The problem is that as practitioners with a broad range of expertise (and especially us in private practice) the AND is really the only venue we have to share knowledge, teach each other, and collaborate. We do this mostly through Dietetic Practice Groups. There are over 20 practice groups within the AND and I belong to several. I am an active member of both the Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine and the Northern Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. So if I bail on my AND membership I also lose out on valuable education and leadership opportunities.
But something has to give. I am passionate about my profession and the bottom line is that if we don’t stand up for our values then nothing changes. My beef is in large part with the Academy’s deplorable corporate sponsorship policy as a whole. Indeed, the only way the AND is going to retract this decision is if we keep pushing them. So if you are reading this then by golly sign the petition here. You don’t have to be an RD to sign it.
Below is what the Petition is calling for, in case you’re interested.
Actions Requested of the Academy: #RepealTheSeal
We ask that the Academy make available to its members, the media and the public the following:
- We ask for full transparency regarding the process of approval to allow the KER logo on the Kraft product— including the names of those involved, the meeting minutes of the discussion, and Board’s vote on this issue.
- We ask for full disclosure of the terms of the financial agreement between KER Foundation and Kraft. We also request full transparency regarding the status of future agreements under consideration for use of our Logo.
- We ask the Academy to provide their plan for the discontinuation of this specific relationship with Kraft and removal of the KER logo off Kraft Singles product packaging.
Okay, friends thank you for listening. I’m getting back to work.