Leading U.S. Nutrition Scientists Forge Cozy Relationships with Major Lobbying Groups

A new report charges that America’s leading group of nutrition scientists regularly accepts money from major food companies such as McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Coca-Cola and lobbying groups including the Sugar Association – despite the fact that many of the companies’ products have little to no nutritional value. The report suggests conflicts of interest have caused scientists to soften public policy recommendations on processed foods and added sugars beyond a point that can be justified by science.

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Michele Simon, a prominent public health lawyer, released a report on Monday criticizing the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) for rules that allow companies to become partners and sponsor sessions at the organization’s annual meeting. In the report, Simon points out that major food companies may sponsor conference sessions at the society’s annual meeting for $25,000 and networking opportunities for $35,000. Companies and lobbying groups can also pay to become “Sustaining Partners” of the organization. A recruitment page for sustaining partnerships encourages companies to “view ASN as the key for access to the nutrition marketplace.” McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods Group, The Coca-Cola Company and Kellogg Company are all listed as partners on the group’s website, and their interests are represented through the Sustaining Partner Roundtable, which serves as an advisory group to the board of directors.

Source: International Business Times

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