In a report released by IBTimes last week, it was stated that companies like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Hershey Co., and General Mills, are some of the listed sponsors in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics annual report. Critics of the companies say that by having the big name ‘junk-food’ companies on the board, it taints the Academy’s reputation and discredits many positions and reports.
Michele Simon, a public health lawyer who published a report in January criticizing the Academy’s sponsorship programs referred to the cooperation as disturbing. The council for dietitians’ educational programs, which oversees all registered dietitian (RDs) accreditation, says that they operate completely independently of the Academy and its sponsors, although they are technically under the same company.
The council urges that the courses registered dieticians continuously take courses in order to maintain their accreditation are not being manipulated by their sponsors. The companies’ manipulation of their curriculum may be denied, but with courses offered like vegetarianism offered by Bush’s Baked Beans, it’s hard to believe the fervent denial.
Simon went on to explain how Coca-Cola offers free seminars and was quoted by the IBTimes as saying, “One seminar is more absurd than the next — talking about how artificial sweeteners are just fine. Any potential problems an RD might have heard about out there in the scientific world, Coca-Cola is right there to tell them, ‘No worries. Everything’s fine.’”
With public health officials and citizens alike outraged, it seems that the Academy, and their sponsors, all have some serious explaining to do.