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.