Stop junk food giants from taking over nutrition programs
  • Petitioned Glenna McCollum

This petition was delivered to:

President, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Glenna McCollum
President-elect, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Sonja Connor
Chief Executive Officer, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Pat Babjak
Past President, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Ethan Bergman
Vice President, Governance and Practice
Harold Holler
Board of Directors
Lucille Beseler
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Jennifer Weber
Board of Directors
Becky Dorner
Board of Directors
Nancy Lewis

Stop junk food giants from taking over nutrition programs

    1. Andy Bellatti, MS, RD
    2. Petition by

      Andy Bellatti, MS, RD

      Henderson, NV

My name is Andy Bellatti. I am a registered dietitian (R.D.) because I think our own health and that of our families and communities is vital to the future of our country.

I co-founded a group called Dietitians for Professional Integrity and started this petition because the professional organization that represents me and my colleagues has been hijacked by junk food companies. This is bad news for the American public, which is facing a public health crisis of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and obesity.

My colleagues and I belong to The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (The Academy) – formerly known as the American Dietetic Association – the nation’s largest professional nutrition organization, which represents over 75,000 Registered Dietitians and health professionals. While there is a lot of potential for such an organization to shape and improve the health of our country; that potential is not being tapped into. If you’ve heard the phrase ‘let your food be your medicine’ you'll get where I’m coming from with this petition.

For years, the Academy has formed shocking partnerships with the very companies that have contributed to the many health problems faced by millions of Americans. Do you think multi-billion dollar junk food companies like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, PepsiCo or Hershey’s are reliable sources of information on healthy eating? Probably not, yet they sponsor professional events for and educate -- the people you turn to for credible advice, as the recent report from Eat Drink Politics, And Now a Word from Our Sponsors: Are America’s Nutrition Professionals in the Pocket of Big Food?, amply demonstrated.

At this year’s California Dietetic Association meeting, McDonald’s was the gold sponsor. At this year’s Utah Dietetic Association meeting, McDonald’s Director of Nutrition addressed dietitians about the chain’s “healthful” offerings (some of which are cooked in trans fats, the very fats strongly condemned by the American Heart Association due to their definitive links to heart disease).

We're not saying that people should boycott all products from these companies; that's a personal decision, but there should be no place for junk food companies in a nutrition organization. These partnerships pose troubling conflicts of interest, threaten the credibility of the Registered Dietitian credential, and limit the Academy’s ability to create or support policies that protect public health.

When junk food giants are allowed to sponsor our conferences and provide continuing "education" to Registered Dietitians, our credential -- which we worked hard for and value -- loses credibility in the eyes of the public. These alliances run so deep that dietitians can attend webinars – where these companies tell them that soda is unfairly vilified, and that sugary cereals are a healthful way for children to start their day – to earn “continuing education” credits for re-certification.

These companies spend millions of dollars every year marketing the very products that contribute to our nation's ever-worsening health, and they actively fight initiatives for better health and to curb marketing to children. Some organizations, like the American College of Nutrition, have realized these partnerships are problematic, and stopped taking money from Big Food. I know The Academy can do this, too.

Dietitians for Professional Integrity – a group of over 4,000 Registered Dietitians, health professionals, and conscious consumers – is asking The Academy to cut ties with food companies that not only contribute to our nation’s worsening public health epidemic, but have also been challenged by respected non-profits like Oxfam for questionable corporate practices.

Many of us have expressed our concerns to the Academy for years, to no avail. This is why we need you, members of the public, to raise your voice and support this campaign.

Help us deliver the message to The Academy that there is a better way for a nutrition organization to operate, and that its ties with these sponsors are unacceptable.

This petition will be formally submitted to the Academy at this year's Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo, held in October in Houston, Texas.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 25,000 signatures

    Supporters

    @unhealthytruth

    Jun 24, 2013

    Dietitians for Professional Integrity's petition to Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to cut its ties with Big Food http://t.co/KEZdeGUXiy

    Robyn O'Brien
    32.5k followers

    @richroll

    Jun 19, 2013

    From former podcast guest @andybellatti: Petition asking Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to sever Big Food ties -- http://t.co/d7X80famAL

    richroll
    20.5k followers

    @melanie_warner

    Jun 18, 2013

    A much-needed petition for a nutrition organization that could be doing so much more @andybellatti http://t.co/7qseQYmL82

    Melanie Warner
    1.88k followers

    @CSPI

    Jun 17, 2013

    Some important points raised by @andybellatti's @change petition http://t.co/Pz9UEU4yL1

    CSPI
    9.46k followers

    @nyshepa

    Jun 17, 2013

    Stop junk food giants from influencing the nation's registered dietitians. Sign the petition and RT: http://t.co/8HaX23OAOX

    Nancy Huehnergarth
    2.59k followers

    @thefoodbabe

    Jun 17, 2013

    Did you know that BIG FOOD is trying to BUY off Registered Dietitians with extravagant sponsorships and other... http://t.co/Rg9BSNRcJl

    Food Babe
    26.5k followers

    @MicheleRSimon

    Jun 17, 2013

    Everyone! RT @marionnestle Dietitians: Sign petition to cut your association's conflict-of-interest ties to Big Food http://t.co/ROy0FUoe19

    Michele Simon JD MPH
    14.2k followers

    @sarma

    Jun 18, 2013

    worthy petition to stop junk food giants from taking over nutrition programs by my friend @andybellatti ===> http://t.co/gEf5rk5Qeg

    Sarma Melngailis
    11.4k followers

    @bittman

    Jun 17, 2013

    Petition | Stop junk food giants from taking over nutrition programs : http://t.co/tqlCVQlRFl

    Mark Bittman
    370k followers

    @marionnestle

    Jun 17, 2013

    Dietitians: Sign petition to cut your association's conflict-of-interest ties to Big Food. http://t.co/vPoTnmSntK

    Marion Nestle
    102k followers

    @heif

    Jun 18, 2013

    I signed: "Please sever the Academy of Nutrition/Dietetics' ties with junk food companies" McD sponsors.. http://t.co/SVyJ2YU99I via @change

    Scott Heiferman
    19.5k followers

    Reasons for signing

    • stephanie Miyashiro BERKELEY, CA
      • 11 months ago

      I do not consider that offerings from the big corps are actually "food."

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • JoAnne Parker SGF, NY
      • 11 months ago

      these companies cause problems then use the problems to benefit themselves

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Carolyn Donohoe Mather HONOLULU, HI
      • 11 months ago

      I have been a registered dietitian for 30 years, but I no longer maintain my membership to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). While I appreciate their work on behalf of RDs and DTRs, it is unethical to allow junk food companies to provide continuing education for nutrition professionals and to take money from the very companies that produce foods that fuel obesity and chronic disease. I’m tired of having to turn the conference bag inside out at FNCE, (the annual AND convention) because I refuse to advertise Equal (Aspartame) or some other dubious item. I am happy to join with others to ask the academy to reconsider: (1) their policies that lend credibility to junk food companies, and (2) their mantra “everything can be eaten as part of a healthy diet”, when in fact, some things should not be eaten.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Denise Schott CRYSTAL LAKE, IL
      • 11 months ago

      I am a dietitian and I think people should eat REAL food, not food products full of salt, fat, high fructose corn sugar, and GMOs.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Nancy Gelbard DAVIS, CA
      • 11 months ago

      I strongly believe that the nations largest nutrition and health organization should not be influenced by corporate food companies, particularly those that make significant financial gain at the expense of the public's health. It is time for the Academy to adopt a policy to clearly state this separation and take a stand that is based on social responsibilities and professional integrity.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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