#RepealTheSeal - An Update on Academy Action

RepealTheSeal


Earlier today, Rachel Begun, Regan Jones and I posted the following update to the supporters of the #RepealTheSeal petition on Change.org. I am reposting that update here with a personal word of thanks to all of you who reached out to show your support not only of of this campaign, but also my personal involvement in this effort. As the update below states, the public forum by which we launched this campaign has always been grounded in the desire to spark real change and press for decisive and timely action. I am immensely grateful for all of my colleagues who continue to ask the hard questions.


#RepealTheSeal - An Update on Academy Action

In launching the #RepealTheSeal campaign and starting this petition, we have remained committed to creating a professional and respectful platform for RDNs to express their concerns about this issue to the Academy. This public step was taken only after multiple formal channels were followed during our respective careers on similar issues to little response. We decided to speak out publicly because we believe credibility is everything. We also believe that our organization is stronger when we take action to make it better. Our intention has always been to be a spark for change and to fight for the principles of our organization and our profession.

In March 24th’s Wall Street Journal article —  the Academy stated that it “is working toward changing any perceptions of endorsement.” To our ears, this means the Academy is keeping their decision intact and continuing to explain the rationale, rather than taking meaningful steps to keep the Kids Eat Right logo off product packaging, as was requested in our #RepealTheSeal petition.

 

#RepealTheSeal Impact

Without all of you, we couldn’t have achieved the overwhelming impact that we have, including:

      • More than 11,000 signatures — composed primarily of RDNs, Academy members and dietetic interns
      • Millions reached through social media — the #RepealTheSeal hashtag has been shared on Twitter to more than 1.7 million accounts, which represents almost 5 million total possible impressions
      • More than 40 blog posts*** — Academy Members, Dietetic Students and Health Professional Blogs have voiced their concerns through their blogs, reaching tens of millions of online reader

We are deeply grateful to all of our colleagues and fellow RDNs who have added the power of their voice, both publicly and privately, to express disagreement over the Academy’s decision to allow the KER logo on food packaging.

 

Call to Action

To date, the Academy has not responded with the actions requested in our original petition. A resolution on this issue may only come if your pressure remains strong. Email your State and DPG Leadership and ask that these petition requests be addressed by the Academy now, and not pushed back to future meetings.

Thank you to all of you who supported this petition.

Best,

Rachel Begun MS, RDN Kate Geagan MS, RDN Regan Jones RDN


The following is a listing of posts by bloggers who are supporting the repeal of the KER logo on food packaging.

Please visit their sites for more thoughtful commentary on this issue.

Janet Helm MS, RD @NutritionUnplugged  Kelly Plowe, MS, RD @ Livestrong 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 Danielle Omar, RD @ Food Confidence Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, LD, CDN, CFT & Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT @ Nutrition Twins David Katz MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH @ Food Politics Darren Stehle @ Eat Move Be Denine Stracker, MPH, RD @ Apples and Olives Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RDN @ Real Mom Nutrition Elizabeth Abrahamson, RDN @ Enjoy Every Bite Rebecca Clyde, RDN @ Be Truly Nourished Kristy Hegner, MPH, RD @ Chocolate Slopes Kara Lydon, RDN @ The Foodie Dietitian Joanne Perez, RD @ Real Bite Nutrition Beth Critser, BS Undergraduate Student via @ More Plant Foods Sidney Fry, MS, RD @ Cooking Light Simmer & Boil Martha McKittrick, RD, CDN, CDE @ City Girl Bites Francesca Cugini, MS, RDN, LD @ Energy We Bring Andy Bellatti MS, RD @ Civil Eats

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