the 24.10.22 Cambridge University Press publishes a study (Carriedo et al., 2022) dedicated to conflicts of interest between the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and the giants of Big food. (1)
1) Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). Premise
La Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) - yeah American Dietetic Association (ADA), founded in 1917 - is the largest organization in the US of food, diet and nutrition professionals, with approximately 100 members.
Its mission statutory is'accelerate the improvement of global health and well-being through food and nutrition'.
The Academy it has an institutional role in the definition of food policies, as well as the US Dietary Guidelines which are considered internationally as a reference 'model'. (2)
2) Conflicts of interest. Previous
Marion Nestlé - famous independent nutritionist, author of the books'Unsavory Truth''Food Politics' is 'Slow Cooked', among others - has extensively documented, over the years, the funding and influence of Big food on the works of the AND. (3) Some of his writings are reported by way of example:
- 2008. OK. Time to talk about the American Dietetic Association's alliances with food companies
- 2015. Dietitians put seal on Kraft Singles (you can't make this stuff up)
- 2015. Dietitians in turmoil over conflicts of interest: it's about time
- 2017. The recent Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' election: controversy over non-disclosure of industry ties
- 2018. A special chapter of the book Unsavory Truth: How the Food Industry Skews the Science of What We Eat
- 2020. Dietetic Association lets Bayer, owner of glyphosate, educate its members about pesticides.
3) Millions of dollars
USRTK researchers (U.S. Right To Know) - thanks to Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA. See note 4) - have collected and examined 82 thousand pages of documents, in the system of Burke County Public Schools (Georgia, USA). The documents, which include exchanges of Email, were searched for by keywords such as Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and its top management, as well as various industrial giants.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has accepted at least $ 15 million in funding and donations from the food, pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries, in the only 6 years covered by the study. His Foundation (ANDF) has in turn received donations of approximately US $ 2 million each year, or 62%. And it has adopted policies to support the interests of Big food to reciprocate so much 'generosity'.
4) position paper and scientific fraud
I position paper and scientific fraud are on the agenda in an organization that distinguishes its 'sponsors' from 'supporters'. As we read in an exchange of Email of its vertices:
- 'corporate sponsors pay a fee, and in return the Academy provides a right or a benefit'
- 'corporate supporters make a charitable contribution with no (explicit) expectation of a commercial return'.
Follow each other thus taking a stance in favor of GMOs and pesticides, applauding the ultra-processed foods that the Academy includes in the nutritional recommendations for children (the Kraft Singles scandal denounced by Marion Nestle in 2015. See above, par. 2), scientific publications against the NOVA system (which instead puts the ultraprocessed food, as seen). (5)
5) Mutual investments
Le Corporation and their representatives top the list of 'sponsors' of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics I'm:
- National Dairy Council (USD 1,5 million), Conagra (1,4 million), Abbott Nutrition (1,2 million), Abbott Laboratories (0,8 million), Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation (in turn financed by Big food, 0,8 million),
- PepsiCo and Coca-Cola (USD 0,5 million each), Hershey (0,4 million). General Mills, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Aramark, Unilever, Best Foods, Kellogg USA (0,3 million).
AND, the academy-union-institution of nutritionists, has in turn invested in the shares of the producers of ultra-processed foods and junk food. The equity investment portfolio of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, in 2015, included Nestle shares for
$ 244,036 and PepsiCo for $ 139,545.
6) Provisional conclusions
A systematic review under examination (Carriedo et al., 2022) provides yet another proof of the continuation of three phenomena:
- the 'dirty war' against health policies and public health waged by the giants of Big food, in spite of their commitments on the facade on the cd Corporate Social Responsibility (6,7)
- the private corruption of some protagonists of the scientific community and their organizations, whose credibility is compromised by the absence of governance (8,9,10)
- public corruption, when institutions entrust the assessment of food safety and nutritional safety risks - or even worse, their representation (11) - to parties with interests opposed to the common good.
#ProfitOverPeople, That's enough!
Footnotes to the story
(1) Carriedo, A., Pinsky, I., Crosbie, E., Ruskin, G., & Mialon, M. (2022). The corporate capture of the nutrition profession in the USA: The case of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/public-health-nutrition/article/corporate-capture-of-the-nutrition-profession-in-the-usa-the-case-of-the-academy-of-nutrition-and-dietetics/9FCF66087DFD5661DF1AF2AD54DA0DF9 Public Health Nutrition, 1-15. doi: 10.1017 / S1368980022001835
(2) FAO. Food-based dietary guidelines - United States of America. https://www.fao.org/nutrition/education/food-dietary-guidelines/regions/countries/united-states-of-america/en/ Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025.
(3) Marion Nestle. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Captured by Food Corporations. Food Politics. https://www.foodpolitics.com/2022/10/academy-of-nutrition-and-dietetics-captured-by-food-corporations/ 25.10.22
(4) What is FOIA (2021). Open polis. https://www.openpolis.it/parole/che-cose-il-foia/
(5) Dario Dongo, Marta Strinati. NOVA classification, natural and ultra-processed foods. Friends and enemies of health. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 16.9.20
(6) Marta Strinati, Dario Dongo. Soda tax, here's how Big Food counteracts health policies. And how to react. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 7.10.22
(7) Marta Strinati, Dario Dongo. Nutrition and health, here's how Big Food stands in the way of the WHO. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 3.9.20
(8) Dario Dongo, Andrea Adelmo Della Penna. Conflicts of interest in scientific research. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 26.9.20
(9) Martha Strinati. Big Alcohol and a century of science at its service. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade)... 5.11.20
(10) Martha Strinati. Nutritional research deflected by Big Food lobbies. New study. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 27.1.21
(11) Dario Dongo. Codex Alimentarius, the NutriScore and the WHO guidelines. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 29.9.21