Petition to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – #RepealTheSeal

  March 18, 2015  |    Blog

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By now you know what we’re all about– we love healthy, minimally processed food and what it does for your health and your energy levels (one of the main reasons we wrote our book The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure), and we’re obsessed with showing you easy ways to help you to get these foods as simply and deliciously as possible.

So although we normally focus on sharing realistic ways to stay healthy with fun, scrumptious recipes, easy ways to workout and get fit, and other more upbeat information, we really feel compelled to share our extreme disappointment surrounding a recent announcement by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).  Yes, we were very let down when AND (which we are long time proud members and supporters of), announced their new partnership between The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Kids Eat Right (KER) Foundation and Kraft, which allows for the inclusion of the KER logo on packages of Kraft Singles.

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We feel compelled to voice our opinion about this so we’re participating in the #RepealTheSeal campaign to show our disagreement with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ recent decision to allow the Kids Eat Right logo onto food packaging. We’ve signed this letter that was written by our friends and colleagues Kate Geagan, MS, RDN and Rachel Begun, MS, RDN and shared with us by Regan Miller Jones, RD.  We invite fellow colleagues and bloggers who share this opinion, or who support this campaign, to also post this Open Letter on their own blog, to sign the petition at change.org, and/or to use #RepealTheSeal hashtag via social media.

~Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CFT and Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CFT

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We are making known to the public and the Academy through the OPEN LETTER printed below that (1) we do not support this type of logo placement (2) we request that the on-package logo be repealed and (3) we request full transparency by AND & KER about this partnership to ensure this does not happen in the future.

March 16, 2015
To Mary Beth Whalen, President Sonja Connor, leadership at the Academy and the Kids Eat Right (KER) Foundation:
As long-time members and proud supporters of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), we are dismayed, shocked, and saddened by the blog post in last week’s New York Times. The piece reports on the KER Foundation’s Nutrition seal— a seal that the Academy states was not an endorsement of the product, but is an indicator of the brands that support Kids Eat Right.
As dedicated Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists and food and nutrition experts, we are protesting the Academy’s position to allow the Kids Eat Right logo on Kraft Singles, as well as the possibility to allow any future implied endorsement of any product by AND for the following reasons:
Flawed Understanding of the Marketplace
We wholly reject the rationale that the Academy used in their formal press release to defend the nature of the relationship between Kraft and the Academy. A logo on a product label is an endorsement, an alignment, and recognition of a paid relationship. Simply stating otherwise in a press release, no matter how emphatically, doesn’t change this fact. Rather, AND’s actions illustrate how profoundly out of touch AND is with business principles, which has put our professional integrity and credibility at risk. It is also a decision that is out of touch with members’ values.

Failure to Provide Transparency to AND Members and Consumers

We work hard to provide full transparency in all of our own business relationships, and we expect the same from the Academy. Failure to be transparent about ANDs actions violates the Academy’s own Ethics Policy, which calls for the highest standards of honesty and integrity, and for members to not engage in false or misleading practices of communications.

Actions Requested of the Academy: #RepealtheSeal
We ask that the Academy make available to its members, the media and the public the following:
We ask for full transparency regarding the process of approval to allow the KER logo on the Kraft product— including the names of those involved, the meeting minutes of the discussion, and Board’s vote on this issue.

We ask for full disclosure of the terms of the financial agreement between KER Foundation and Kraft. We also request full transparency regarding the status of future agreements under consideration for use of our Logo.

We ask the Academy to provide their plan for the discontinuation of this specific relationship with Kraft and removal of the KER logo off Kraft Singles product packaging.

Academy members deserve strong leaders who will protect the integrity of the Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist credential. This latest action is an embarrassing misstep that must be corrected swiftly in order to prevent further damage to the RD/RDN brand and to the Academy.

Sincerely,
Rachel Begun MS, RDN
Kate Geagan MS, RDN
Regan Jones, RDN

Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN

Lyssie Lakatos, RDN
Registered Dietitian/Nutritionists colleagues listed at change.org

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