This is a post about truth. And pasteurized prepared cheese product.
Recently, you may have seen headlines like “Nutritionists Say Your Kid Should Chow Down on Day-Glo Processed Cheese” and heard rumors that dietitians are now endorsing Kraft Singles cheese. Or rather, Kraft Singles pasteurized prepared cheese product.
But here’s the truth:
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the organization that represents 75,000 nutrition professionals like myself, is allowing Kraft to display the logo for the Academy’s Kids Eat Right campaign on packages of Kraft Singles. Kids Eat Right is a campaign from the Academy’s foundation that supports education to address obesity among children. Kraft Singles would be the first product to bear the Kids Eat Right logo.
- The Academy insists that this is not an endorsement of Kraft Singles, but an indication that Kraft is a supporter of the Kids Eat Right initiative.
- Despite what some articles say, the logo is not a “seal of approval” from dietitians. This decision made by the Academy does not reflect the opinions or desires of its 75,000 dues-paying members. We weren’t consulted on the decision. We didn’t vote on the decision. In fact, most of those 75,000 (including me) didn’t even know about the agreement until this New York Times piece last week.
- Many of the Academy’s members (including me) were shocked and frustrated by this development. Three members created an online petition to #RepealTheSeal and drafted an open letter to the Academy. The letter not only requests a plan for the removal of the logo from Kraft Singles packaging but also asks for full disclosure of the terms of the financial agreement between Kids Eat Right and Kraft. You don’t have to be a dietitian to sign the petition. So if you agree, go here to read the letter and sign the petition. At last count, it was nearly 8,500 signatures strong.
I’m glad to see so much support for the petition. Yet over the past week, I’ve also seen the facts distorted and exaggerated and even held up by some as an example of how dietitians are out of touch. Those attempts to discredit the profession are unfair and unfounded. This debacle has been embarrassing, but the Academy’s misstep is not our misstep.
I’m proud to be a registered dietitian. My colleagues are calculating tube feedings for critically ill patients, helping people recover from eating disorders, feeding residents in nursing homes, counseling people with new diagnoses of diabetes and kidney failure, teaching families in underserved neighborhoods how to cook healthy meals, and working in schools to improve nutrition. They’re doing research and improving people’s lives. And they’re educating the public with recommendations that are backed by evidence, not fear and hyperbole.
I’m also very proud of my fellow dietitians Rachel Begun, Kate Geagan, and Regan Jones who created the petition and are bravely standing up to the Academy–and representing so many of us who disagree with this misguided decision.
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 onto food packaging. I invite my fellow colleagues and bloggers who share this opinion, or who support this campaign, to sign the petition at change.org and/or to use the #RepealTheSeal hashtag via social media.