Petition to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics - #RepealTheSeal

Repeal The Seal


OPEN LETTER TO THE ACADEMY OF NUTRITION AND DIETETICS

March 16, 2015

 

To Mary Beth Whalen, President Sonja Connor, leadership at the Academy and Kids Eat Right (KER) Foundation:

I am a long-time members and proud supporters of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), but myself and fellow nutrition colleagues - Rachel Begun and Regan Jones, are dismayed, shocked, and saddened by the blog post in last week’s New York Times.  The piece reports on the KER Foundation’s Nutrition seal— a seal that the Academy states was not an endorsement of the product, but is an indicator of the brands that support Kids Eat Right.

 

As dedicated Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists and food and nutrition experts, we are protesting the Academy’s position to allow the Kids Eat Right logo on Kraft Singles, as well as the possibility to allow any future implied endorsement of any product by AND for the following reasons:

Flawed Understanding of the Marketplace

We wholly reject the rationale that the Academy used in their formal press release to defend the nature of the relationship between Kraft and the Academy. A logo on a product label is an endorsement, an alignment, and recognition of a paid relationship. Simply stating otherwise in a press release, no matter how emphatically, doesn’t change this fact. Rather, AND’s actions illustrate how profoundly out of touch AND is with business principles, which has put our professional integrity and credibility at risk. It is also a decision that is out of touch with members’ values.

Failure to Provide Transparency to AND Members and Consumers  

We work hard to provide full transparency in all of our own business relationships, and we expect the same from the Academy. Failure to be transparent about ANDs actions violates the Academy’s own Ethics Policy*, which calls for the highest standards of honesty and integrity, and for members to not engage in false or misleading practices of communications.

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.

 

Academy members deserve strong leaders who will protect the integrity of the Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist credential. This latest action is an embarrassing misstep that must be corrected swiftly in order to prevent further damage to the RD/RDN brand and to the Academy.

 

Sincerely,
Rachel Begun MS, RDN
Kate Geagan MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian/Nutritionists colleagues listed at change.org .

 

* American Dietetic Association/Commission on Dietetic Registration Cod of Ethics for the Profession of Dietetics and Process for the Consideration of Ethics Issues. J Acad Nutr Diet 2009;109(8):1461-1467.

 


How You Can Help: 3 Steps 

We are asking your help in harnessing the power of our collective voices to make known to the public and the Academy that (1) we do not support this type of logo placement (2) we request that the on-package logo be repealed and (3) we request full transparency by AND & KER about this partnership to ensure this do not happen in the future.
  1. PETITION - Sign the petition at change.org, which outlines the steps we are asking that The Academy and KER take to rectify this situation.
  1. POST - Post this Open Letter to the Academy and KER leadership on your blog and/or social media platform(s) to reach your peers and audience. Please use the #RepealTheSeal hashtag. While we kindly ask that you keep the Open Letter intact, if you have any additional thoughts or commentary that would be of interest to your readers, please feel free to include that in your own post.
  1. PROMOTE - Please share this Open Letter and/or links to the petition on your social media platforms or your blog, and please feel free to invite others to repost on their blogs and social media networks. If you do share this on your blog, please include the following suggested language to help your audience understand how they can help support the campaign:
While we all have different passions within the field of food and nutrition, we believe we are united in our feeling that this was a misstep that has put our own professional credibility in jeopardy.  We hope that you will consider joining us.

 

Best,
Rachel Begun MS, RDN, Kate Geagan MS, RDN and Regan Jones RD

UPDATE The following is a listing of posts by bloggers who are supporting the #RepealTheSeal campaign. Please visit their sites for more thoughtful commentary on this issue.

Regan Jones, RD @ TheHealthyAperature

Rachel Begun MS, RDN @ The Gluten Free RD

Lindsay Livingston, RD @ The Lean Green Bean

Rachael Hartley, RD @ Avocado A Day

Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD & Serena Ball, MS RD @ Teaspoon of Spice

Gretchen Brown, RD @ Kumquat

Alanna Waldron, RD @ Eat Real Food

Alex Caspero, RD @ Delicious Knowledge

Anne Mauney, MPH, RD @ Fannetastic Food

Sherry Coleman Collins, MS, RDN, LD @ Southern Fried Nutrition

Ashley Colpaart, MS, RD @ Epicurean Ideal

Christina Schu, Dietetics Student @ The Beautiful Balance

Hannah Eddy, Dietetic Intern @ The Wholey Trinity

Jessica Serdikoff, RDN, CPT @ Floptimism

Sarah Moran, RDN @ Sarah Moran Nutrition

April Graff, RD @ This RD Eats

Emily Hein, RDN @ Zen & Spice

Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RD, ACSM, @ US News Health (Eat + Run)

Robin Plotkin, RD, LD @ Robin's Bite

Yoni Freedhoff, MD @ Weighty Matters

Marie Spano MS, RD, CSCS, CSSD @ Performance Nutrition

Vicki Shanta Retelny, RDN @ Simple Cravings. Real Food

Jennifer Pullman, RD @ Nourished Simply

Parke Wilde @ U.S. Food Policy

Caroline Kaufman, MS, RDN @ Caroline Kaufman Nutrition

5 Super Green Awards at FNCE 2011

FNCE 2011The American Dietetic Association just wrapped its annual meeting in San Diego last week, and while there was certainly some controversy about America’s food and nutrition experts being sponsored by Big Food it was also incredibly refreshing and encouraging to see many companies who are committed to producing sustainable, nourishing foods sharing their message with RDs. There were lots of great ones, but here are my 5 Green Stars of FNCE. For the record, I am not personally connected in any way to any of these products- I just love ‘em. 1.  Cat Cora’s Olive Snack Packs

Cat Cora's Olive Snack Packs

I LOVE these! While we can’t all be lucky enough to pull up a chair to legendary chef Cat Cora’s kitchen table, this is the next best thing. Finally, real food snacking on the go has been made super delicious, super easy. These resealable packs are ingenious-they don’t leak in your purse or your bag-I love the pitted lemon and oregano olives, as they’re brimming with real olive flavor, not just a salt bomb that so many olives are these days. Sun ripened, with no artificial anything, made with ingredients found in your kitchen: olives, extra virgin olive oil, herbs and salt. Cora partnered with sustainable food pioneer Gaea (with carbon footprinting on the package), making it a lean and green superfood on the go for moms, execs, athletes even kids.

 

Einkhorn Pasta2.  Einkhorn Pasta

Truth be told, they had me at hello. If you haven’t already heard of it, get ready for a new “ancient grain” to hit store shelves near you: einkorn pasta. I got a fascinating anthropology lesson - seriously. First discovered on a perfectly preserved man who lived during the Bronze Age, einkhorn  was brought back to mainstream eating by Italian researchers-and is now cultivated on small organic farms in Italy-einkhorn is unique because it has never been hybridized, making it one of the most simple (chromosomally speaking) wheats out there. Rich in B vitamins, protein and trace minerals, with an ORAC score of 1200 (compared to durum wheat at 600), it’s a supergrain that has a wonderful nutty taste and is the perfect way to pump up your favorite pasta recipe. And they get a green star for sustainable packaging.

 

Sweet Tree Coconut Palm Sugar3.  Sweet Tree Coconut Palm Sugar

Sugar is a problem; we know Americans eat far too much of it, (an average of 22 tsp a day) and traditional cane sugar comes with a high environmental price tag as well. That’s why I’m so sweet on this new fantastic find. First introduced to me by my favorite qualitarian RD Ashley Koff, Sweet Tree is made from 100% organic crystallized coconut palm nectar, has a lower glycemic index (only 35) than table sugar (68), HCFS (62), or honey (55), and contains many trace nutrients like potassium. An easy, greener swap for your kitchen, it can be used ounce for ounce in your favorite recipes instead of cane sugar, and imparts a deliciously rich, almost caramel flavor to my coffee in the morning. Parent company Big Tree Farms has done outstanding work in sustainability: showing that “health, people and planet” can all coexist deliciously.

 

Crispy Greens4.  Crispy Greens

What I loved most at FNCE this year is how many companies are finally showing us that YES, snacking can be super clean, 1 ingredient foods like they’re found in nature-and still be fun, easy and delicious in the process. Crispy Greens is a shining example. I love the crispy Asian pear, mango and cantaloupe flavors-talk about a delicious wake up for your tastebuds! And a refreshing step beyond first generation “healthy snacks” like oily banana chips. Perfect for the purse, the high chair, the boardroom, the gym bag, and all of life in between. Green star, ladies.

 

Tera’s Whey5.  Tera’s Whey

Simple ingredients, ethically sources to support small, Wisconsin farms. A green factory that touches the planet lightly. Traceability that goes al the way back to the cow or goat. Now tell me, what’s not to love? Given all the highly fortified, sweetened with high fructose corn syrup options I saw on the FNCE floor, Tera’s Whey was a breath of fresh air.   For those who thrive on a morning whey shake or like that added boost of protein, Terra’s Whey is a lean, green, and clean option. Other bonuses: They offer organic cow and goat milk options, and offer versions that are unsweetened, or sweetened with low-glycemic stevia.

 

Did you see anything else at FNCE generating some lean and green buzz? I'd love to hear about it! Want more snacks to wean you from the vending machine? Shine has an amazing list of lean and green superfoods that I love.

 

Written with assistance from Lindsey Toth, MS, RD