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Conflict of Interest Colored Dietitians’ Annual Food and Nutrition Conference

Sponsorships are generally beneficial and non-controversial. They’re a way to keep doing business without having to worry about funds. But what happens when those sponsorships are in direct conflict with the mission of the sponsored?

AND sponsors

When this happens in the field of dietetics, advocacy groups like Dietitians for Professional Integrity (DFPI) are formed. Founded in February by a group of citizens and 14 dietitians, they were primarily a Facebook group discussing concerns like the connection between the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and Big Food.

Last month AND held their annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. DFPI attended the event, commonly referred to as FNCE, and have now released a report entitled “The Food Ties that Bind,” summarizing and detailing the message Big Food shared with the attendees.

According to the report, the Expo hall was liberally peppered with information from AND’s various partners and sponsors, including but not limited to: Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Unilever, General Mills, PepsiCo and the National Dairy Council. Corporate sponsors of FNCE had the opportunity to include “educational materials” in the tote bag provided to each attendee.

One handout, “Aspartame: One of the Most Studied Ingredients in the World,” was provided by Coca-Cola’s Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness. It detailed how long aspartame has existed and stated that it is used in 100+ countries around the world. It failed to include information from a recent study that found artificial sweeteners can alter the food reward-system response in the brain. This after Coca-Cola got blasted for being the health and wellness sponsor at BlogHer by the social media community.
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No Fat Girls Allowed at Lululemon Athletica

It’s been a sour year for Lululemon Athletica. First, the company was forced to recall nearly 20 percent of their yoga pants because they were basically see through. As if the massive product shortage wasn’t enough, they proceeded to mock a domestic abuse charity in Dallas. And when Lululemon co-founder Chip Wilson was asked to reflect on the yoga pants fiasco, he offered this gem: “Frankly, some women’s bodies just don’t actually work for it.”

He just said that. That’s what he told Bloomberg TV earlier this week, when his wife and co-founder Shannon Wilson were on the air to talk about their 60 second meditation technique that they probably charge $100 for. Shannon quickly went into damage control, spinning Chip’s message into a “we’re more concerned with people using our pants in the wrong way” kind of thing. She literally blamed the “see through” pants fiasco on the fact that people might be sitting on cement.

“Not every woman can wear a lululemon yoga pant?” said Trish Reagan, host of Bloomberg TV. “No I think they can,” said Chip. “I just think it’s how you use it.” Right.

It would be nice if that’s what the lululemon founders really meant. But this is the same elitist and discriminatory message they’ve been peddling for some time. This summer, the company posted a message to its Facebook page and acknowledged that their clothing is not meant for plus sized women.
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McDonald’s and Burger King Violate Children’s Advertising Agreement Making Up 99 Percent of All Fast Food Ads Aimed at Kids

McDonald’s and Burger King agreed to advertise only healthy food offerings as part of the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative. Let’s see if they’ve kept their word.

INFOGRAPHIC

When it comes to child marketing, McDonald’s and Burger King are selling the experience, not the food.

The above study, funded and published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has found the two largest fast food corporations aren’t as dumb as they look. They’ve figured out that showcasing their food is actually a bad idea. Obviously McDonald’s and Burger King cannot self-regulate their ads aimed at children. The facts are anything but elementary, as the tactics of these fast food behemoths are prolonging the childhood obesity epidemic. One-third of our children remain obese.

99 percent of all fast food ads aimed at children came courtesy of two companies.

Any guesses? Not a tough one here, folks. McDonald’s and Burger King placed 44,602 and 37,210 ads aimed at kids, respectively. This is disconcerting. Despite big fast food’s efforts to increase healthy offerings, the burgers, fries, and nuggets peddled in kid’s meals are highly caloric, highly fatty, and highly processed. To this day, no one really knows what McDonald’s chicken nuggets are made of.

Side note: A 3.3oz serving of McDonald’s eggs, which should be one of their healthiest menu items, contains 20 ingredients and 173 percent of your daily cholesterol intake. Just sayin’.
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Major Organic Brands Still Funding Anti-GMO Labeling Efforts in Front of Washington’s I-522 Vote

I-522

They’re at it again, and this time just a little more sneakily than before. Not only are some of the biggest brands in organic and earth-friendly food still supporting anti-labeling campaigns, but now they’re trying to do it in secret.

A new infographic produced by Cornucopia.org shows which brands still oppose the labeling of GMOs. What’s more, after facing major backlash from their opposition to Prop 37, many of those corporations hid behind membership in the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) to secretly continue funding anti-labeling measures.
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Monsanto Named a Great Place to Work While Making the Earth a Terrible Place to Live

There is something truly rotten about Monsanto.

The bio tech agricultural giant has been named #12 in the “prestigious” World’s Best Multinational Workplaces by Great Place to Work. A dubious award, considering this innocent Google search:

why monsanto is...

Evil, bad, unethical, and harmful. Sounds like a really great place to work, huh? More on that in a minute, but let’s discuss the merit of this particular award first.

Great Places to Work is a San Francisco-based research and consulting firm that decided three years ago to begin naming the best places in the world to work. The criteria is based on workplace culture, and companies can only be eligible for the list if they have at least 5,500 employees—40 percent of which must work outside the company’s home country.

These accolades, bestowed upon 25 companies, aren’t based on ethics, fair business practices, or community service—they are survey-based and reflect the feelings of millions of employees from thousands of different companies. All of Monsanto’s happy employees might frown if they knew about the evil practices of their employer. The fact that McDonald’s—the fast food chain that basically admitted their full-time employees couldn’t survive on their wages—made this list even more suspect.

In short, Monsanto has not won a humanitarian or global stewardship award, and probably never will.
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