Yesterday, in his Weighty Matters blog, Canadian doctor Yoni Freedhoff explained why he is resigning his membership to The Obesity Society (TOS). Spoiler: TOS’ food industry ties.
- “My concerns began in early 2013. That was when TOS published its “Guidelines for Accepting Funds from External Sources” position paper. In it, TOS “expressly eliminates all forms of evaluation or judgment of the funding source, “and instead “chooses to focus its ethical mission on transparency in disclosing the sources of funding, clear stipulations outlining our commitment to the ethical use of funds, and a commitment to non-influence of the funding sources over the scientific aspects of funded projects and TOS as a whole.”
- “Shortly thereafter TOS struck its “Food Industry Outreach Task Force”, which seems to have morphed into its “Food Industry Engagement Council”, the most recent meeting of which included representatives from Kellogg’s, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Dr. Pepper and Ocean Spray.”
- “I’m all for dialogue, debate, and discussion with the food industry, but I just can’t support taking their money, formally working with them on joint projects, or giving them votes at tables.”
- “Public health partnerships provide the food industry with high gloss brand polish, they may lead to direct or indirect co-branded sales, they may confer undeserved positive emotional brand associations, they may silence or soften industry or product criticism, they may provide industry with ammunition to fight industry unfriendly legislative efforts, and they necessitate that the partnered public health group water down public health messaging that may conflict with their partnered private industries’ bottom lines.”