Although the likes of Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, and General Mills are the most visible food industry partners of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, it is also important to be aware of front groups.
The most notorious of these is the International Food Information Council (IFIC). Despite its neutral name, scientific-sounding mission statement (“to effectively communicate science-based information about health, food safety and nutrition for the public good”), and guiding principles of “credentialed experts” and “independence” (see their ten principles here), IFIC is a food industry front group.
A quick glance at IFIC’s Board of Trustees and staff bios reveals ties to Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Oscar Mayer Foods, and Mars, among others. Additionally, IFIC’s donors include Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, The Hershey Company, McDonald’s, Monsanto, and Nestlé (a full list is available here).
IFIC has close ties to AND, and often presents sessions at the annual conference. Not surprisingly, these sessions tend to downplay concerns about added sugars, normalize junk food, and focus on energy expenditure in regards to health (with little thought given to caloric quality).
In order to demand full integrity from our profession, it is important to be aware of front groups such as IFIC, and connect all the dots between their involvement with AND and who their funders are.