If you ever attend the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ annual conference (the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo, also known as FNCE) you would think the food industry’s number one priority was the health of Americans.
Big Food and Big Beverage’s most notorious players — including Academy partners like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, and General Mills — have an abundance of glossy brochures and impressive soundbites about their desire to provide health and wellness (and ‘convenience’!) to consumers.
As we always say, though, the food industry’s real priorities become loud and clear anytime health policy that has the potential to affect their daily operations and bottom line comes into play.
Consider, for example, the recent proposal by the Food & Drug Administration to phase out artificial trans fats from the food supply. By no means the first-of-its-kind legislation (Denmark and Switzerland did this successfully several years back), it has nevertheless put the food industry in full-on defense mode.
The scientific evidence showing the tremendous harm artificial trans fats pose to cardiovascular health is well-documented, but that doesn’t faze the food industry.
As New York University’s Dr. Marion Nestle writes on her Food Politics blog today:
“Food companies are complaining that the FDA has gone too far, needs to allow companies to keep small amounts in foods, and doesn’t really have the authority to revoke GRAS status.”
That, by the way, is pretty much every food company’s stance, since both the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute (two industry lobbying groups) submitted comments to the FDA against the removal of artificial trans fats from the food supply. Talk about being on the wrong side of history!
Here is the interesting twist — the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics submitted comments in favor of revoking artificial trans fats. Great! But, this begs the question: why continue to accept funding from (and partner up with) food companies that, time and time again, make concerted efforts to block public health policy? Why does a nutrition organization have ties to companies that advocate against efforts that could help improve the health of Americans?