Today’s statement of concern comes from Brittany Craig, RD (Twitter handle: @BrittanyPCraig):
“I am a new dietitian and am very proud to say this after completing a rigorous academic program to achieve the credential. My decision to pursue a career in nutrition was a natural progression, as I was eager to learn as much as I could about nutrition at an early age.
As an undergraduate student studying Community Health, with a Nutrition Concentration, I had the fortunate opportunity to be assigned Marion Nestle’s ‘Food Politics’ as part of my required reading curriculum. In this particular course, I learned about corporate sponsorship and its influence on AND and other healthcare associations. It was disconcerting to learn that the organization that might represent me some day has such close ties to the food industry that relentlessly works against public health efforts.
I find AND’s corporate ties particularly conflicting when reading AND’s Code of Ethics. For those of you reading this who are not RDs, the Code of Ethics was created by AND and the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) to provide ethical guidance for dietetic practitioners.
In the Code of Ethics, one of our “Responsibilities to the Public” states that “The dietetics practitioner does not engage in false or misleading practices or communications” and “the dietetics practitioner provides accurate and truthful information in communicating with the public.”
Does AND provide accurate and truthful information to the public? Does AND even provide accurate information to us practitioners? While the information AND provides to the public and us practitioners may not be completely inaccurate, it is certainly problematic, and many times tainted by food industry interests. It is also disturbing that AND frequently avoids taking positions on pertinent topics, like New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s initiative to cap soda sizes. I suspect, as many of my colleagues do, that AND’s refusal to take a stand has to do with the money they receive from soft drink companies.
This is an incredibly exciting time to be a nutrition expert; new research is plentiful and many individuals and communities are in need of our services. With that being said, it is disappointing to see AND not more involved. In my opinion, AND violates its very own ethical code every time it does not acknowledge current research and opposing opinions.
I will continue to echo what many of my colleagues have said before me – our professional integrity is suffering and we need change. I am happy to see so many of us support Dietitians for Professional Integrity and I hope that AND notices too.”