It's Mickey D's, or is it Mickey's RDs? The annual spring conference for Registered Dietitians (RDs) in Michigan is sponsored by McDonalds, the soybean and dairy industries, Abbott, Lily, and Aunt Millie's Bakery among many others. Also, sponsored by default are the "feeder" industries of pesticides, herbicides, GMO, hormones, antibiotics, high fructose corn syrup, trans and damaged fats, as well as many other highly processed ingredients. Although I was pleased to see Functional Formularies and the Michigan Farmers Market Association on the list of sponsors, these are merely token "garnishes" served on an overall toxic menu of sponsors.
For as long as dietetic associations are sponsored by corporate food, corporate agriculture, and the pharmaceutical industry, our food systems and nutrition messages are negatively influenced. These same corporations fund industry biased "scientific" research, and they offer continuing education programs for dietitians. Rife with conflicts of interest!!!
After giving millions of dollars to the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (AND), Coca-Cola withdrew sponsorship in 2015. What about Pepsi? This statement on the AND website reveals their mutual deception and marketing: "Over 1.2 billion times each and every day, someone is eating or drinking a PepsiCo product so we rely upon the expertise and commitment of Academy members to provide unique insight into the health and nutritional challenges people face every day." — Richard Black, PhD, Vice President, Global R&D Nutrition, PepsiCo
Many RDs are urging AND to get rid of these sponsors, as they are bad for public health and damage the reputation of the dietetics profession. See the specific sponsorship guidelines proposed by the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition dietetic practice group, and the advocacy/activism work of Dietitians for Professional Integrity. Hopefully, through continuous dialogue and grass roots pressure, these "junk" sponsor relationships will become a thing of the past!
Kudos to the Los Angeles District of the California Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. They created ethical guidelines for sponsorship and raised membership dues. Guess what happened? A positive response and an increase in membership!!!