After yesterday’s developments, we encourage every single dietitian who disapproves of the Kids Eat Right logo appearing on packages of Kraft Singles to email their House of Delegates affiliate (email directory) and other members of AND leadership.
Why HOD affiliates? At the upcoming HOD virtual meeting (May 2 and 3), one of the topics that will be discussed is corporate sponsorships.
Here is a sample letter we have drafted. Feel free to use it “as is” or as a starting point. Thank you to dietitian Ashley Colpaart for her assistance.
“Dear Academy Delegate,
Thank you for representing members at the upcoming House of Delegate meeting. This letter is in response to the core question due to be discussed on May 3:
“How do we evolve our existing sponsorship program to further the mission, vision and goals of the Academy while safeguarding the Academy’s reputation and integrity?”
First, I want to express my strong disappointment in the Academy Foundation’s decision to put the first-ever Kid Eat Right seal on packages of Kraft Singles. Despite the Academy’s insistence that this seal is not an endorsement or a seal of approval, both dietitians and the public perceive it as such.
I believe that the reason the House of Delegates is addressing Corporate Sponsorship at the spring meeting is precisely because many members feel our reputation is eroding in the eyes of the public and other health professionals as a result of partnerships with Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, General Mills, and Kellogg’s.
This latest development, while specific to the Academy Foundation, is another problematic conflict of interest that highlights the need to make serious reforms. This dependence on controversial corporate partnerships is compromising our ability to promote nutrition and is a betrayal to our hard earned credential.
I believe If we want to be regarded as THE nutrition experts, we need to raise the bar and remain independent from food industry influence. It is time for the Academy to honestly and deliberately address the concerns of dietitians, through real tangible action, not regurgitated old positions and supporting the status quo.
For years, the Academy has said it is listening to its members on this issue, but it is is hard to believe that when the Academy’s actions continue to prove otherwise.
I urge the House of Delegates to take a stand once and for all on behalf of the profession we all love. It is time for the Academy leadership to push for a new paradigm of fundraising that does not compromise our professional image nor ask professionals to uncomfortably defend the Academy.
Apart from your state and DPG HOD affiliate, we also recommend including the following individuals on this communication (their emails also appear in the directory linked above):
* President Sonja Connor
* President-Elect Evelyn Crayton
* Board of Directors Headquarters Partner Patricia Babjak
* Chair of Ethics Committee Janet Skates
* Ethics Committee Headquarters Partner Harold Holler
* Ethics Committee Headquarters Partner Cecily Byrne
* Member Value Committee Chair Christine Palumbo
If you are a student/dietetic intern, we also suggest including the HOD student affiliate.
This is the time to band together and speak up.