Just minutes ago, dietitians received the following e-mail message from Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics CEO Patricia Babjak:
“To all members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
Let me begin by apologizing for the concerns caused by the education initiative with Kraft. The Academy and the Foundation are listening. As a member-driven organization, the Academy’s staff and leadership hear your concerns and welcome your input.
Unfortunately, recent news articles misstated a collaboration as a Kids Eat Right “endorsement” of Kraft Singles, and that it represents a “seal of approval” from Kids Eat Right, the Foundation, or the Academy. It is not an endorsement. It is not a seal of approval. We understand this distinction is of little consequence to many Academy members who are concerned with the perception. We are working on a solution.
In addition, we are working to establish a joint, member-driven Member Advisory Panel. This Panel will work closely with both Boards to:
- Establish dialogue with members
- Gather input and give feedback on member issues
- Make specific recommendations
Recognizing sponsorship as a significant issue of concern among members, the House of Delegates leadership team, who also serve on the Board of Directors, scheduled a dialogue on sponsorship for the upcoming virtual House of Delegates meeting, May 3. We encourage all members to reach out to your delegates and share your thoughts on the benefits of, concerns about and suggestions for the sponsorship program. The Academy and Foundation Boards are looking forward to your input.
Thank you very much!
Patricia M. Babjak
Chief Executive Officer
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics”
While it is important that the Academy saw enough of an outcry to communicate with members, it continues to stand by its original statement to the New York Times that the Kids Eat Right Foundation seal is not an endorsement and now mentions the creation of an advisory panel, but does not touch on two important points: 1) who would be invited to such a panel, and 2) when that panel would be formed.
Furthermore, does AND need to create a panel to gather input on this topic considering the massive outcry from membership since the Kraft collaboration news broke last Thursday evening?
We are curious about the solution that is being worked on, although it is hard to begin to imagine what it could be since no details are provided.
Unfortunately, there is still no disclosure around how much money Kraft paid for the Kids Eat Right logo.
Continue to get in touch with AND — and your House of Delegates affiliates, as the letter states — and respectfully let them know that what dietitians need right now is leadership, action, and, above all, a sense that members’ concerns matter.