18 Mar #RepealTheSeal: Petition to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
I am participating in the #RepealTheSeal campaign to show my disagreement with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ recent decision to allow the Kids Eat Right logo onto food packaging. I invite fellow colleagues, bloggers or anyone who shares this opinion, or who supports 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. ~ Robin Plotkin, RD
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. -Winston Churchill
I’m a long-time supporter of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I’m a proud member, volunteer and advocate for our professional organization. But today, it’s time for me to communicate my concern over a serious issue. You may have heard about a new partnership between AND’s Kids Eat Right Campaign (KER) and Kraft which allows for the KER logo on Kraft singles. AND has stated that this collaboration is not an endorsement nor is to be considered a nutrition seal of approval. To the general public, however, there is no distinction between a seal of approval and an endorsement. Perception is reality.
The Academy needs to be held accountable for the decisions they’ve made on our behalf-and without our consent. The lack of integrity and ethical behavior shown by all associated with this situation is not only infuriating, but heartbreaking as well to those of us who work so hard to provide full transparency in our business practices.
Respected dietitian colleagues, Regan Jones, Rachel Begun and Kate Geagan have spearheaded the #RepealTheSeal campaign with an open letter to AND and the public (below) along with a petition that anyone can sign.
Want to help #RepealTheSeal? You don’t have to be a dietitian to help out:
1) Sign the petition at change.org, which outlines the steps we are asking that The Academy and KER take to rectify this situation.
2) Post this Open Letter on your blog and/or social media platforms and use #RepealTheSeal hashtag
3) Invite others to repost on their blogs and/or share the petition link social media networks.
While we all have different passions within the field of food and nutrition, we believe we are united in our feeling that this was a misstep that has put registered dietitians’ professional credibility in jeopardy.
Thanks for helping us make an impact!
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 (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/12/a-cheese-product-wins-kids-nutrition-seal/?_r=0 – ) 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.
Rachel Begun MS, RDN
Kate Geagan MS, RDN
Regan Jones, RDN
Registered Dietitian/Nutritionists colleagues listed at change.org