Monday, March 16, 2015

Repeal The Seal: No Kids Eat Right Logo on Food Products

I am participating in the #RepealTheSeal campaign to show my disagreement with the Academy’s recent decision to allow the Kids Eat Right logo onto food packaging. I invite my 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, and/or to use #RepealTheSeal hashtag via social media. 

Below please find our petition letter as well as instructions for how other RDNs can sign the petition and post it to your own blog and social media platforms so that we can garner signatures from as many RDNs as possible. --Cheers, Ashley


March 16, 2015

To Mary Beth Whalan, 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.

Rachel Begun MS, RDN
Kate Geagan MS, RDN
Regan Jones, RDN
Ashley Colpaart, MS RDN


PETITION – Sign the petition at (, which outlines the steps we are asking that The Academy and KER take to rectify this situation.

POST – Post the above Open Letter to the Academy and KER leadership on your blog and/or social media platform(s) to reach your peers and audience. Please use the #RepealTheSeal hashtag. While we kindly ask that you keep the Open Letter intact, if you have any additional thoughts or commentary that would be of interest to your readers, please feel free to include that in your own post.

PROMOTE – Please share this Open Letter and/or links to the petition on your social media platforms or your blog, and please feel free to invite others to repost on their blogs and social media networks. If you do share this on your blog, please include the following suggested language to help your audience understand how they can help support the campaign:
I am participating in the #RepealTheSeal campaign to show my disagreement with the Academy’s recent decision to allow the Kids Eat Right logo onto food packaging. I invite my 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, and/or to use #RepealTheSeal hashtag via social media.

We thank you for your support!

*American Dietetic Association/Commission on Dietetic Registration Code of Ethics for the Profession of Dietetics and Process for the Consideration of Ethics Issues. J Acad Nutr Diet2009;109(8):1461-1467.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Corporate Relationships and Cheesy Facts

By now you have heard the news of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic's Partnership between Kraft Foods and Kid's Eat Right, which was recently criticized in a New York Times Article on March 12th 2015. 

To see Academy President Sonja L. Connor introduce the initiative in her March 2015 address click here (starts at minute 2:02) or visit the Kids Eat Right: CheesyFacts page for more information (coming soon!). 

Kraft Singles will be the first product to receive the Kid's Eat Right endorsement. But, while Kraft Foods dietitian Kari Ryan touts the nutrient benefits of Kraft Singles as a means of addressing calcium and Vitamin D deficiencies in children, The Foundation asserts that the label is not an endorsement of a product, but rather, an acknowledgement of financial support of Kids Eat Right. 

According to the NY Times, The Academy: 
"emphatically denied that the label was an endorsement. “The Kids Eat Right logo on Kraft Singles packaging identifies the brand as a proud supporter of Kids Eat Right,” Mary Beth Whalen, the Academy’s executive director, said in an email statement. “It also serves to drive broader visibility to, a trusted educational resource for consumers."
Furthermore ABC News, pinpointing the "reversal of how most ads work", quoted Academy Spokesman Ryan O'Malley saying: 
"Kraft is putting the Kids Eat Right logo [on its packaging and] saying Kraft is a proud supporter of Kids Eat Right, not vice versa. The academy has never once endorsed any product, brand or service, and we never will."
It is really a stretch for me to understand how this "trusted educational resource for consumers" is justifying such a potentially confusing relationship, to dietitians and public alike. 

UPDATE: The Academy released this Statement


In my experience as a leader within the Academy for over a decade, no issue has been more divisive to the dietetics profession (Academy members and non-members alike), than the Academy's Corporate Sponsorship program. While the Academy staff has attempted to more clearly articulate the Academy's Sponsorship program, I remain perplexed about how the Academy Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a 501(c)3 charity, and its two programs (Kids Eat Right and The Future of Food) is governed. 

This spring the governing body of the Academy (The House of Delegates) will conduct its 2015 meeting on May 2 and 3, 2015. On May 2, the delegates will discuss the mega issue "Engaging Members in the Need to Address Malnutrition Across Nutrition and Dietetics Practice Settings." On May 3, the delegates will discuss the Academy's corporate sponsorship program.

The Current  Question they are asking Membership is: 

"How do we evolve our existing sponsorship program to further the mission, vision and goals of the Academy while safeguarding the Academy's reputation and integrity?"
How timely. 

The Meeting Objectives are:
1. Understand the impact of the sponsorship program on the profession, Academy Foundation, and the Academy, 

including DPGs, MIGs and affiliates. 
2. Identify the Academy’s steps in evaluating alignment with a potential sponsor. 
3. Identify elements of the Academy’s corporate sponsorship program that need to be retained or modified. 

 Talk with your delegate(s) about this issue in advance of the Spring 2015 Virtual HOD Meeting (May 2-3, 2015). 
1. Have you, your students, or your affiliate or DPG been impacted by sponsorship? 
2. How do you view corporate sponsorship (identify pros and cons)? 
Your delegate will discuss your feedback during the table dialogue at the Spring 2015 Virtual HOD Meeting.

If there was ever a time for members share their concerns, suggestions or feedback, the time is now. 

If you are a member, please act before Friday March 20th -- (or before you go on Spring Break). 

Take a few minutes to:

1. Read the HOD Fact Sheet on the topic. 

2. Submit comments to BOTH your DPG Delegates and State Affiliate Delegate. Delegate contact information is available here

(For the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition DPG members, your delegate is Meg Bruening and she set up a survey to receive comments here.)

3. Publicly share your thoughts to empower other members to speak up. If you are on Twitter, please RETWEET:

As an RD, I'm appalled with the @eatrightkids label on @kraftsfoods Singles, endorsement or not. #RDchat #cheesyfacts

4. Share this call to action with your colleagues and networks. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Registered Dietitian Challenge

Greetings colleagues and friends!

The Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) Ice Bucket Challenge (#icebucketchallenge) has emerged as a game changer, raising funds and awareness for an amazing cause.  Valid criticism aside (the need to consider water conservation during a severe drought), the ALS challenge is encouraging folks to be active in a new way and is arguably creating a way for organizations to raise awareness and engage in our social media society. Most importantly, as of August 22, 2014 the challenge has raised $53.3 million dollars for ALS research.

In the spirit of the #icebucketchallenge, I am encouraging my profession of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists to participate in an #RDchallenge with the goals of:

a.) building rapport and appreciation within our profession, and 

b.) raising funds for our valued Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic Political Action Committee (ANDPAC)--- the only political action committee broadly focused on food, nutrition and health. (It ranks among the top health professional political action committees in the country!)

AFTER you have contributed to ALS, consider joining the #RDchallenge by: 
  1. Writing a hand written letter to a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist that has been influential to your career. Currently the United States Postal Service is offering beautiful Farmers' Market Stamps to adorn your envelope.
  2. Take a photo of your card (blacking out personal information) and post your photo on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. 
  3. Tag three (3) other Registered Dietitian Nutritionists to challenge them to participate and use the #RDchallenge hashtag. You may also want to tag #RDchat or post on a Dietetic Practice Group's Facebook page, Instagram site, or Electronic Mailing List to reach your colleagues. 
Once you are tagged you will have 24 hours to participate or you must donate funds to ANDPAC to help support their upcoming legislative efforts! But honestly, if you are given the honor of being tagged, I hope you will choose to contribute to ANDPAC regardless! 

To begin, I wrote my letter to the current Chair of the  Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group Dianne Lollar. This year Dianne received the 2014 National Women, Infants and Children Leadership Award. She is a savvy, smart, and dedicated RD with years of service to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Dianne is also an amazing organic farmer and has been an inspiration to me. Enjoy your card Dianne!

To get things rolling I am tagging a few fellow RDs from Twitter. Good luck!







Monday, March 4, 2013

Practice Paper: Promoting Ecological Sustainability within the Food System

A new Practice Paper from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic is available and the topic is Promoting Ecological Sustainability within the Food System. I'm happy to see the final paper since I helped review it months ago as a member of the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group. The final paper was authored by my colleague Ramona Robinson-O’Brien and Bonnie L. Gerald.

I really like this call to action:
It is important to continually evaluate current food system practices and promote practices that support and sustain natural resources and the environment. Food system sustainability is dependent, in part, upon the protection and conservation of soil, water, energy, and the preservation of biodiversity. Promoting food system sustainability can be an admirable goal among RDs and DTRs. 
I was also intrigued by this address to decreased pesticide usage and possible suggestion to support organic agriculture:
The use of pesticides in agriculture may have a negative impact on wildlife and the wider environment (water, soil, air) if leaching, runoff, or spray drift occurs. In an effort to mitigate adverse environmental exposures, consideration should be given to alternative cropping systems less dependent on pesticides, the development of pesticides with improved safety profiles and formulations, and appropriate use of spraying equipment. 
There is also a fantastic section on consumer options, including growing interest is local food, “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food,” farm to institution work, and innovations to address food access including SNAP benefits at farmers markets, community gardens, and utilization of cooperative extension. 

Finally, I was also super excited to see a shout out to some fantastic resources that some fellow HEN DPG members developed:

Included in the resource figure (Figure 1) is a link to the document “Healthy Land, Healthy People: Building a Better Understanding of Sustainable Food Systems for Food and Nutrition Professionals, which provides wide-ranging recommendations for RDs and DTRs to incorporate professional practices in support of ecological sustainability in the food system. RDs and DTRs are encouraged to utilize this valuable tool to identify practical examples within a variety of practice areas. Wilkins and colleagues contend that the economic, ecological, and social sustainability of the food system matter as much as the nutritional value of its products and encourage RDs and DTRs to practice “civic dietetics” by integrating food system awareness into their work.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Live in Austin- Breastfeeding

This mom is too hip for words. Way to feed that baby nature's perfect food.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Shit Dietitians Say

I had to join the fun. Please comment. Did I leave anything out?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Everything the California Milk Processing Board Did is Wrong

I preface this post with a disclosure: I take issue with the tactics of the dairy industry in relation to marketing and policy. As a Registered Dietitian working in food systems and public health, I see first hand the National Dairy Council's (NDC)'s methods to ensure that milk and dairy remain an essential component of the American diet. They are given center stage at nutrition, school lunch, obesity and agricultural conferences and not coincidentally-- they pay the big bucks to sponsor such events. In fields where "science based" research is paramount to making policy and public health decisions, the NDC goes far to ensure research is favorable, that representatives are briefed and the audience is primed to ingest their propaganda.

I am frustrated with some nutrition professionals inability to consider the difference between the industry sponsoring research, the manipulation of current research into messages, and all out marketing campaigns. We fail to consider the body of research that is not being conducted, published or marketed to the same extent. My friend Nancy Becker recently sent me the Parachute Study, which perfectly illustrates this point.

I digress. The real point of this post is to criticize the California Milk Processor Board's new marketing scheme aimed at untapped milk buyers: men. I first heard about the sexist "Everything I Do Is Wrong" campaign while listening to the news on public radio (thanks NPR, as if the Cargill ads weren't bad enough?). "Every Thing I Do Is Wrong" gives men "suffering" with a PMS ridden women the answer: milk --and a slew of canned apologies. I think the board room of men that developed this campaign would be smart to start working on their apology.

Women traditionally make household purchases, especially food, but the CMPB "educates" their counterpart to purchase milk by stating that "milk can help reduce the symptoms of PMS." I have a feeling this one might backfire.

The site itself is a futuristic, busy hodgepodge of PMS indicators, an emergency "milk locator" that shows a map of nearby grocery and corner stores that sell milk, and scrolling apologies like " I apologize for letting you misinterpret what I was saying." Hmm CMPB, I'm not so sure I misinterpreted the utter repugnance of this marketing campaign? I assume that most Registered Dietitians (mostly made up of women, many working for the NDC) might also find this offensive. Just a hunch.

In an attempt to find the actual research backing the PMS claims, I came up largely empty handed, at least from the actual website. The "case study" section is "coming soon." The only thing the site does say is that "Milk helps reduce a majority of women's symptoms after 3 months of taking 1,200mg Calcium/day."

Huh? Do I drink milk or take a calcium supplement? Symptoms of what?

When you click around you find one study mentioned. "Calcium carbonate and the premenstrual syndrome: effects on premenstrual and menstrual symptoms. Premenstrual Syndrome Study Group." conducted by endocrinologist Susan Thys-Jacobs at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology in 1998. Women ages 18-45 were randomly assigned to receive 1200 mg of elemental calcium per day in the form of calcium carbonate or placebo for 3 menstrual cycles. (Got milk?) Daily documentation of symptoms, adverse effects, and compliance with medications were monitored.All 4 symptom factors (negative affect, water retention, food cravings, and pain) were significantly reduced by the third treatment cycle.

No mention of milk in this study. I called the CMPB's office to ask some questions. There was no answer. I guess there are probably a bunch of PMS suffering women trying to call them today.