In her latest Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ President’s Page column, President Sonja Connor addresses corporate sponsorships.
- “I believe it is our professional responsibility to work with the food industry, ideally in ways that create a food supply that promotes optimal health throughout life.”
Fair enough. What we want to point out is that working with the food industry is different from taking money from the food industry (or allowing sponsorship from the food industry).
As we have stated multiple times since our inception, we are not calling for communications between AND and the food industry to cease. Rather, we are asking for an end to problematic sponsorships and conflicts of interest.
- “As I wrote last month, Academy Chief Executive Officer Patricia Babjak is developing a plan to challenge the food industry.”
We are not sure what this means and are looking for further clarification. Challenge the food industry in what way?
- “There are a multitude of potential benefits to be gained by working with industry. To achieve these benefits, we at the Academy must pursue opportunities within our established guidelines.”
What are these potential benefits? Thus far, the Academy’s corporate sponsorships have mainly served as a source of controversy, contention, and ridicule.
And, as we have pointed out on several occasions, the food industry encompasses many different companies. Certainly, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola represent one aspect of the food industry. The “it’s either sponsorship from PepsiCo and Coca-Cola or no sponsorship at all” argument is a strawman one that does not leave room for nuanced discussions.
Let’s see what emerges from the House of Delegates meeting next month and the Sponsorship Task Force’s recommendations (which the Board of Directors can reject in one fell swoop, by the way).