Petition to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – #RepealTheSeal

March is National Nutrition Month, but this isn’t a typical blog post, it is a call to action.

I am participating in the #RepealTheSeal campaign to show my disagreement with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ recent decision to allow the Kids Eat Right logo on 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 change.org, and/or to use #RepealTheSeal hashtag via social media.

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Last week the New York Times published an article titled, “A Cheese ‘Product” Gains Kids’ Nutrition Seal“.  Just by the title it seems ridiculous, doesn’t it?  This article discusses an agreement between the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (AND) Kids Eat Right (KER) foundation and Kraft Foods Group to place the KER logo on their processed cheese singles.

According to AND, the KER seal is only meant to identify Kraft as a supporter of the Kids Eat Right initiative. Unfortunately, that is not how it appears to most consumers. This logo can be easily mistaken as an endorsement. Logos found on food products are more deceptive than helpful and should not be permitted.  Myself, and many other registered dietitians, do not support AND’s decision and want the seal to be removed from Kraft packaging.

Three nationally recognized and highly respected RD’s, Regan JonesKate Geagan, and Rachel Begun, have written an open letter (found below) to AND and KER asking for the seal to be repealed.  This petition has quickly been gathered supporters.  Anyone is welcome to sign the petition to support the removal of the KER seal from Kraft Singles.

Find the #RepealTheSeal petition here and read the open letter to the Academy below. Thanks for helping to make an impact!  Please share with others using the #RepealTheSeal hashtag!


March 16, 2015

To Mary Beth Whalen, 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 (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/12/a-cheese-product-wins-kids-nutrition-seal/?_r=0) 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.

Sincerely,

Rachel Begun MS, RDN
Kate Geagan MS, RDN
Regan Jones, RDN
Registered Dietitian/Nutritionists colleagues listed at change.org

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One Comment

  1. MattAugust 27, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    Agree. Most parents won’t see this as Kraft being a benevolent donor that supports KER. They will see “cheese” packaged with a KER label.

    Even if there is a donation, an average parent won’t take the time to read it. They’ll just pick it up and assume it’s healthy.

    I don’t buy it.

    On that note, do you plan or writing something regarding coca-cola’s recent maneuvers?

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About Gina
Gina Consalvo-Hassick, MA, RD, LDN, CDE, NCC is a registered dietitian and is actively involved in various food and nutrition communities. She has counseled and assessed a wide range of patients and has experience in outpatient, inpatient, and consulting. Areas of specialization include weight management, eating disorders, and wellness nutrition.
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