As we’ve mentioned on numerous occasions, the issue of industry co-optation of science and policy is by no means exclusive to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Consider, for example, what has been happening with Big Food and The School Nutrition Association.
To recap, via NPR:
- “The School Nutrition Association says it was trying to improve the healthfulness of school lunches. But it says the U.S. Agriculture Department didn’t help when things got tough, so it went to Congress. House Republicans provided help, but they also put the group in the middle of a partisan battle over what to feed America’s school students.”
- Under [Republican Rep.] Aderholt’s provision, school districts can get a yearlong waiver from all of the standards set by the new standards — even those already in effect.”
- “Back in 2010, the SNA vigorously supported the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. Now it embraces Aderholt’s provision. As the Environmental Working Group noted Tuesday in a blog post, tax records show that $6.7 million of $10.5 million the School Nutrition Association collected in 2012 came from sponsorship fees from food companies like Schwan’s Food Service, a major provider of pizza to schools.”
Big Food’s deep pockets rear their head once again and show how industry’s presence tends to soften criticism and sometimes get organizations to do 180s with their policy recommendations.
At the very least, public perception of SNA has been largely unfavorable lately, in large part because its ties to Big Food are seen as blatant conflicts of interest that put corporate profits over public health.