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'Academy is corrupt': Report reveals US nutrition organisation receives millions from big food companies

Washington, United StatesEdited By: Tanisha RajputUpdated: Dec 09, 2022, 07:01 PM IST
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The year 2015, also called for controversy when the Academy allowed Kraft to put a "Kid's Eat Healthy" seal on the packaging. (representative image) (Image courtesy: pixabay) Photograph:(Others)

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Defending itself the Academy said that its an independent voice and a "trusted edcuational resource for consumers." It added that it provides information to over 110,000 dieticians in the country

A new study has revealed that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics which helps in shaping the US food policies has financial ties to the world's most renowned processed food companies.

Gary Ruskin, executive director of US Right to Know who also co-authored the study said, "It’s incredibly influential so if the Academy is corrupt then nutritional policy in the US is going to be corrupt."

The Academy has been criticised for its big ties. The report also reveals that the academy has quid pro quo with food giants and owns stock in processed food companies like Nestle and Pepsico. It was also headed by former industry employees.

The US Academy has received contributions worth millions of dollars from producers. As per the report, it received $15 million between 2011-2017 from the producers. An additional $4 million were sent to the Academy's foundation. 

Marion Nestle, a nutritionist in her 2002 books said that Academy's financial ties raise fundamental questions about "credibility. "

She said, "How can the Academy advise the public to avoid ultra-processed foods, for example, if it is funded by the makers of those foods?". "The issue of trust is critical to nutrition advising. The Academy looks like it represents the food industry, not the public interest."

Defending itself the Academy said that its an independent voice and a "trusted edcuational resource for consumers." It added that it provides information to over 110,000 dieticians in the country. 

It denied doing anything wrong and said that the study contains factual errors and has finances 'out of context.'

Owning stocks in Pepsico, the then Academy treasure Donna Martin in 2014 in an email said, "I personally like Pepsico and do not have any problems with us owning it, but I wonder if someone will say something about that. Hopefully they will be happy like they should be! I personally would be OK if we owned Coke stock!!”

The Academy in 2015 sent an email which revealed that not only it owned stock in ABoot but also received a sponsorship deal worth $300,000. 

The mail also revealed an extension of the Academy's sponsorship deal with the National Dairy Council. 

The year 2015, also called for controversy when the Academy allowed Kraft to put a "Kid's Eat Healthy" seal on the packaging. 

Soon the product was criticised for its poor nutritional value and for containing other chemical products. 

(With inputs from agencies)
 

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