In this interview with University of California’s Food Observer, Dietitians For Professional Integrity co-founder and strategic director Andy Bellatti touches on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and general advocacy efforts.
- “Industries have deep pockets and political clout, two factors that make them powerful entities. Deep pockets can afford top-notch lobbyists, and access to politicians and decision-makers goes a long way. Consider, for example, how current guidelines to consume three servings of dairy a day are more about lobbying than they are about science. Or how the soda industry keeps funneling money into defeating soda taxes. Or the sugar industry’s long history of distorting science. And that’s all just the tip of the iceberg.”
- “The Kraft Singles/Kids Eat Right debacle was interesting because it was the first time the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics felt real pushback from its members. It was astounding to see dietitians who hadn’t publicly expressed their distaste with AND’s corporate partnerships speak up and say “enough is enough.
- For years (more like decades, actually), AND has operated from a standpoint that has trivialized concerns about corporate sponsorships. In many ways, the Kraft Singles debacle was a wake-up call, and AND can no longer claim the issue of corporate sponsors is a “fringe” issue. In fact, AND has identified corporate sponsorship as a “mega issue” (their wording, not mine) to be discussed at the House of Delegates annual meeting in a few days.”
- “Change is inevitable. Whether you’re talking about the suffrage movement, civil rights, or marriage equality, history has shown that sustained advocacy brings change. It takes time, effort, and patience. And there are moments of temporary defeat along the way, especially when those who wish to maintain the status quo begin to see the writing on the wall and double down on resisting change. But, ultimately, change happens.”