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Pesticides Are Good for You

For years now, I have been hearing about the food industry’s influence on the annual conference of the American Dietetic Association — the nation’s largest gathering of nutrition professionals–with some 7,000 registered dietitians in attendance. Last month, I witnessed it for myself and discovered the corporate takeover by Big Food was worse than I even imagined.

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The top-paying sponsors, whom ADA called “partners,” were Coca-Cola, Aramark, the National Dairy Council, and Hershey (their “Center for Health and Nutrition” – really). “Premier sponsors” included PepsiCo, Mars, and General Mills.

The exhibit hall seemed more like a processed food trade show than a nutrition conference. I saw very few booths with actual information, apart from that being peddled by the likes of Nestle, Kraft, and McDonald’s, along with (of course), ubiquitous product samples, tastings, and myriad swag. (Oddly, Monsanto’s booth featured its branded, soy-based lip balm.)

But the worst cooptation came during the “educational sessions,” which should have been off limits to marketing. Numerous panels were hosted by industry players, including, “Dairy Innovations,” brought to you by (surprise!) the National Dairy Council, which also hosted a media-only session, as did others.

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“Culinary” demos were offered by cooking experts such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Hershey, and McNeil (maker of the fake sugar, Splenda). For attending several “Expo Impact Sessions,” described by ADA as “scientific and evidenced-based,” RDs could even earn continuing educational units. Who better to teach, “Are Sugars Toxic: What’s Wrong with Current Research?” than the Corn Refiners Association? I attended a silly session called “Snacking and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines” brought to me by the largest snacking experts in the nation, Frito-Lay, who also had a huge booth touting their deceptively-labeled “natural” products, nearby the monstrous booth hosted by parent company PepsiCo.

But while all this was obvious industry spin, several sessions had backers harder to identify because of the stealth names, lack of transparency, and impressive backgrounds of the presenters. Enter the International Food and Information Council. Certainly sounds legit. But if anything sets off my BS detector it’s the word “council.” It’s often used by corporate front groups to magically transform public relations into credible science.

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A closer look reveals IFIC’s true agenda. On its board of trustees sits representatives from PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, and General Mills, while funders include the likes of Coca-Cola, Hershey, McDonald’s, Nestle, and Monsanto. (Funny how this list sounds remarkably similar to ADA’s sponsors.)

IFIC’s mission is “to effectively communicate science-based information about health, nutrition and food safety for the public good.” Heartwarming. Under “Food Safety Resources” IFIC communicates about such sticky issues as arsenic in food and “The Science of Bisphenol A.” For the public good of course.

What sort of science-based information was IFIC communicating to 7,000 nutrition professionals at the ADA meeting? The session, “A Fresh Look at Processed Foods” promised to “share new research on how processed foods contribute to key nutrition needs.” Sounds a tad defensive.

Another panel asked, “How Risky is Our Food? Clarifying the Controversies of Chemical Risks.” Who exactly is attempting to clarify the controversy? While the session was not listed in the program as being organized by IFIC, the moderator, Marianne Smith Edge, is the group’s senior vice president of nutrition and food safety. At no time during her remarks did she disclose IFIC’s corporate funding, although ADA rules require speakers to disclose any conflicts of interest. The two panelists were Julie Miller Jones and Carl Winter, both academic researchers, apparently hand-picked by IFIC for their industry-friendly positions. And indeed, each speaker downplayed any risks of chemicals in food such as pesticides, food dyes, and other additives, while practically making fun of organic production.

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Jones lamented about organics being too expensive and offered tired arguments about how risks are everywhere, so really, why worry? She also claimed people automatically fear something because it is artificial. But Andy Bellatti, an RD in attendance told me he found this “rather insulting; she’s trying to argue we have no capacity for rational thought. The concern with artificial ingredients is over studies showing harmful effects.”

But the lowlight of the session came when Carl Winter launched into a lengthy attack on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen, an annual list of the 12 fruits and vegetables most contaminated with pesticides. Winter claimed the list wasn’t backed by science, resorting to outright mockery at times. This was the same theme Winter struck in his “Expert Perspective” for IFIC this summer. His core argument is that EWG only considers pesticide residue and not actual exposure, which he argues, causes “negligible risks to consumers.”

Now reasonable people can disagree on this point and I am no expert in pesticides, but most troubling was how the audience only got to hear one side of the story. Why wasn’t anyone from EWG invited to participate to defend their scientific analysis?

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During the Q&A, several frustrated attendees challenged the presenters–the only time the audience heard any opposing viewpoint. Several who spoke up are members of the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietary Practice Group, which represents a growing number of RDs who are challenging ADA’s corporate ties and making inroads, slowly but surely. (I recently became a “friend of HEN” to support this brave group of professionals challenging the status quo.)

I asked the moderator why IFIC had organized such a one-sided panel and complained that as a writer for Food Safety News, I was unable to cover the session in an intelligent way given the biased information. IFIC denied any such bias and defended its selection of presenters. Afterwards, an IFIC rep approached me to offer to put together a more balanced panel at next year’s event. I am still waiting for the follow-up phone call.

But the corporate-funded, pro-pesticide spin didn’t end there. A few of
us took to Twitter during the session, which in turn inspired a hit piece on Forbes.com called, “Cleaning up the EWG’s Dirty Dozen,” co-authored by Henry Miller and Jeff Stier. Both have ties to the American Council on Science and Health, (there’s that “council” moniker again) a notorious industry front group that has attacked the likes of Marion Nestle. Miller is currently a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, right-wing / libertarian think tanks that favor deregulation, both heavily funded by corporate interests.

Here’s how the Forbes article describes what happened at ADA, although neither author was actually in attendance:

Winter presented his report at the American Dietetic Association’s Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo this week. The food police on hand were outraged with his findings, but the best they could muster were ad hominem attacks on Dr. Winter and IFIC, such as, “Google Carl Winter and industry front group IFIC and you will understand.” In fact, EWG’s Senior Communications and Policy Advisor, Don Carr took to Twitter to call IFIC “industry goons.” So much for scientific debate.

OK, so the Google suggestion was mine and I’ve been called the food police before. But scientific debate? That was sorely lacking at the event itself, as Don Carr noted in his comment in response to the article:

EWG was not invited to the American Dietetic Association’s Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo nor were we even alerted that our Shopper’s Guide would be the topic of discussion at the event sponsored by an industry front group. We welcome any opportunity for an honest, open and transparent discussion about pesticides and our consumer guide – but that was not afforded to us. 

Indeed how about a lively debate on whether chemicals in food are dangerous? That would have far more interesting and useful for the audience. But industry front groups are not interested in debating. IFIC only wants to present the spin that supports its funders’ economic interests, which is entirely understandable. But how can the American Dietetic Association allow such powerful economic interests to completely control the message its members hear?

Between the junk-food dominated expo and the industry-friendly educational sessions, the American Dietetic Association conference is yet another disturbing example of Big Food’s co-optation of the nation’s health professionals.

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Photos by Michele Simon

Michele Simon is a public health lawyer specializing in industry marketing and lobbying tactics. She is the author of “Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back” and president of Eat Drink Politics, a consulting firm.

© Food Safety News
  • http://www.NeverEndingFood.org Stacia Nordin, RD

    Thank you Michelle for bringing this so bodly to the page. I hope that other ADA members, especially our elected ADA leaders and those who organize FNCE are listening.
    There are a few good booths and sessions tucked away at FNCE, but it is sad to see all the contamination.
    I was denied a session to present my work on School Health and Nutrition a few years ago, and, granted I can see where the description of my proposed presentation could have improved, I can’t believe some of the sessions I’ve been in that buy their way into the floor.
    I don’t have that kind of money.

  • Wesley Babcock, RD, CP-FS

    Thanks so much for your perspective on the recent FNCE. Just one more reason why I refuse to join the ADA. I hope the ADA leaders are listening, but I’ll beleive it when I see it.

  • Alliance for Food and Farming

    As an attorney, you should really be providing a more complete picture of the scientific evidence presented. Of particular importance, you neglected to mention that Dr. Winter’s work and analysis of the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list was published in the peer reviewed journal – The Journal of Toxicology. You may not like his findings and neither does EWG but Dr. Winter isn’t the only scientist that finds the EWG’s work misleading and potentially a detriment to public health. Just look at recent statements by Dr. Bruce Ames of UC Berkeley. Further, we have asked and never have gotten an answer to the question of why EWG does not submit their “Dirty Dozen Report” to the Journal of Toxicology for peer review and possible publication? So, maybe Food Safety News can ask them?

  • http://www.rochesternutrition.com Carol Plotkin, MS, RD

    Bravo Michele!! I was in attendance at FNCE this year and have been for several years since the mid ’90′s. It has always been the same with respect to large food companies exibiting in the expo. My first year in attendance I remember all the RDs rushing to get their Boston Chicken free samples. It reminded me of a feeding frenzy. This is the first year that I was keenly aware of industry’s influence on the educational sessions. You are much braver than I was. I avoided all of those sessions as I am so dismayed by this. I have such limited time to learn at these meetings and I do not want to be influenced by propaganda. Thanks for shedding the light on this! It looks like I need to become a member of HEN. I’m also seriously considering finding another meeting to go to instead of FNCE!

  • http://pesticidelobbyist.blogspot.com Dawn Forsythe

    Ah, so it’s come to this, has it? I was a pesticide lobbyist in the 1990s, and was there when the seed for the formal “image campaign” sprouted. Michele saw it in full bloom.
    See http://pesticidelobbyist.blogspot.com/2011/10/trying-to-co-opt-nations-dieticians.html for links to the pesticide industry proposal for the first image campaign (in 1995), which listed dieticians as a target audience.

  • http://www.phfspec.com Peter Cocotas

    Your headline, “Pesticides are good for you” is snarky and pretty much discredits your impartiality and anything that follows.

  • Teresa

    You failed to mention who provides funding to the Environmental Working Group. Could it be possible that their funding comes from the organic industry? And could that be shaping their message about the “Dirty Dozen”? Organics are “big money” and “big business,” too, if you insist on using labels.

  • msimon

    Dear Anonymous rep of “Food and Farming Alliance,” seems your website fails to reveal your org’s funders. However, I did discover this page on Sourcewatch, which tracks corporate PR:
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Alliance_for_Food_and_Farming

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley

    Another winning article. In-depth coverage of an important topic, linked to good reference material, well written–I swear you guys are becoming my favorite reading material.

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley

    I thought I would include a link to SourceWatch’s page on the IFIC http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=International_Food_Information_Council

  • http://www.breastcancerandnutrition.com Zuzanna

    Michele, thank you so much for fantastic article. I was watching the FNCE conference from afar, did not want to waist $$ to attend. Frankly, this is shameful, the lip service provided by our government, including first lady is what it is: a lip service. I would be ashamed to be licensed by ADA as all RD are. BTW, my website is not complete yet, so if someone will find problems with it, I am aware of them.
    Zuzanna Moore Ph.D. M.S. c.MSHN

  • Jack

    This is just another example why I have zero respect professional dietitian. Their lack of true food knowledge is astounding.

  • Steve

    Great article! And it looks like Michele hit another Big Bucks/Big Ag nerve over at the Alliance for Food and Farming.
    From their website: “The Alliance for Food and Farming is headquartered in Watsonville, CA and is staffed by a team of communications professionals. All Alliance for Food and Farming activities are overseen by a Management Board consisting of leaders from throughout the U.S. agricultural industry.”
    Even with $$$millions of PR dollars at their disposal the “communications professionals” are facing a losing battle trying to gloss over the Nasty Realities of Industrial Agriculture — toxic pesticides, factory “farms”, livestock antibiotics as growth promoters, corporation-agency revolving doors, spurious food safety oversight, unlabeled GMOs, petrochemical dependency, marketing to children, exploitation of farm workers, ETC.ETC> — and this article outlines yet another aspect…
    But — as eaters everywhere are becoming more and more aware of what’s being done to our food — the Good Food Movement grows and grows. It’s high time to Occupy Our Food Supply.

  • charlie

    So much began long ago….I attended a university nutrition class given for nurses and dieticians in the 70′s here in Reno.[given 'for credit'] I listened to a speaker give statistics that showed we do not eat too much sugar. I was dumbfounded until i looked at the program and saw that this speaker was from the Kellogg Co. Scary then, scarier now.
    Agree w/Jack- professional dieticians I have met, have zero
    knowledge. As usual it is all about ‘big bucks’. What are we to do then?
    Alliance for Food and Farming needs to consider ethics and the damage being caused to our population. Our Children. To wake up to reality.
    Thank you for this fantastic article. And I was so busy today I was going to pass———–but your clever headline scared me so much, the reading need became IMMEDIATE! The headline is NOT SNARKY Peter, it is unbelieveably CLEVER!
    I am a new subscriber, and feel lucky to have found you.
    Do keep us informed, and thank you.

  • Alliance for Food and Farming

    Michele – glad you took notice of our comment. Please look at our organization more closely. Our tax return is posted on our website at safefruitsandveggies.com. You’ll see that our members are organic and conventional farmers of all sizes or organizations that represent farmers. But, will you ask EWG about peer reviewing their report in the Journal of Toxicology?
    And, Steve, that tax return will also show that we don’t have millions of dollars to spend on PR – EWG does, but we don’t.
    I also find it interesting that no one is talking about the science behind what Dr. Winter’s presented or acknowledging that this science was peer reviewed by a respected journal. They are attacking the messenger (IFIC, ADA and now the Alliance), but not the message. Why?

  • http://smallbites.andybellatti.com abellatti

    Jack,
    While I understand the frustration you express, I think it is important to not put all dietitians in the same bag. We don’t all shill for Big Food, and many of us are definitely not in agreement with ADA’s insiduous partnerships.
    I know I speak for myself and fellow RDs who are members of HEN when I say that this Big Food co-optation is an embarrassment and a hindrance to the profession.
    Andy Bellatti, MS, RD

  • Cassie, RD, CNSC

    This and some of the comments are discouraging to read. When I became an RD, I was so proud of my credentials and really believed I could help improve the health and well-being of my patients.
    Unfortunately, these conferences and the ADA overall have truly become marketing vehicles. We have to maintain our registration with continuing education, but really most of these conferences are just giant advertisements. I ate a salmon lunch once while learning about how there is less mercury in farm-raised salmon (no mention of their different nutritional profile and their grain diet!) and I was sitting next to an RD who had just been working the booth for McDonald’s… ?!!
    Add that to some of the younger RDs I’ve worked with who are experts at parroting position papers but lack any real critical thinking skill to interpret any scientific literature… and we’re flushing any credibility we ever had right down the drain.
    I guess all we can do is work to shape the next generation of nutrition professionals… ADA might be a lost cause. (Then again, perhaps their upcoming name change will bring some internal changes as well? One can hope.)

  • http://www.muchmorethanfood.com Bonnie Modugno, MS, RD

    Science is messy. Maybe law is easier to navigate. At the same time, ADA could do a better job making sure both sides of any debate are present and available to discuss these contentious issues. It is not honest nor constructive to assume what is reliable information based on labels alone–in either polarized camp.
    HEN is a part of ADA. Maybe it would be helpful to remember that next time someone starts making broad and reckless statements about an entire group of people.
    Nutrition is a young science. We don’t know everything there is to know. All critics should remember the limitations of science. If we want more independent research we need to fund our research institutions in a very different way.

  • Liz

    I loathe the politics and corporate BS that infects our food supply, but, I must agree with the other comment regarding your bias in the article. I agree that we need to rid ourselves of pesticides and focus on healthy farming and eating, but the reporting needs to be without bias otherwise it’s worthless. I don’t know who to trust anymore.

  • Tiffany G, RD & ADA Member

    This is a one-sided and therefore misleading portrayal of ADA and FNCE. I understand that you are hoping to create controversy to sell more books. However, you’re being quite irresponsible.
    Yes, ADA has partnered with large corporations that sell foods that I don’t personally recommend or consume as an RD. Never in my career have I taken or used messaging from a corporate sponsor. Never. It simply does not influence my practice.
    I don’t see any pictures in your post of the many commodity boards, publishers, food service vendors or government and education exhibitors that attended. The Walnut Board, California Strawberries, Almond Board, Peanut Board, Pistachios, Pecans, Raisins, Blueberries, Pears, Honey, Lara Bar, CLIF, Amy’s, Chobani, Kettle Cuisine, Healthy Dining Finder… Yep these and many, many more were all there.
    It appears that you were so busy trying to make your case, that you missed sessions on the role of omega 3 fats in reducing depression, the latest evidence on diet and preventing metabolic syndrome or the great sugar debate which I think presented both sides in depth without any bias.
    I would personally love to see a completely healthy food supply for every American. It would be phenomenal if these companies that employee hundreds of thousands of employees to be able to do so selling whole, healthy foods but that’s not were we are yet. I think the expo floor is representative of what’s in the market place. It is up to the consumer to demand changes with their dollar.
    So Michele, besides selling your books, what do you hope to get from this “sting operation”?

  • Steve

    My mistake! I confused the Alliance for Food and Farming with their Big Food-Big Brother, the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) who are indeed playing with Big $$$ Bucks — much of it skimmed from checkoff programs that all commercial farmers have to pay into, whether they wish to or whether they agree with the uses or not…
    They similarly describe themselves as “farmer- and rancher-led,” with affiliates of “all sizes, shapes and production methods.” Here’s how Anna Lappe described them a few weeks ago at http://civileats.com/2011/10/05/the-harder-they-spin-what-usfra-wants-us-to-believe-and-why-it’s-still-not-the-truth/
    “Yes, USFRA technically represents a range of farmers and ranchers, but only because much of its total budget—$11 million a year or $30 million depending on who you ask—comes from federal “check-off” commodity marketing programs. These programs, now covering 19 different commodities, compel all or most producers of these commodities, no matter the size, to pay into promotion programs. Beef ranchers for instance must pay $1 per head on domestic sales. The money adds up: In 2007, beef check-off programs spent more than $90 million.”
    But it looks like the Alliance for Food and Farming is a littler, mostly Californian version of USFRA whose “team of communications professionals” has only $$hundreds of thousands to work with. But then again they’re basically a one-trick pony with a singular message that keeps hammering away at EWG’s expository pesticide reports by citing industry-friendly analysis that in essence keeps saying “don’t fret,”– “pesticides are good for you”.
    Eaters who looking for more of an in-depth look of what toxic pesticides are in and on our food (no, not from EWG) can also see: http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/ There they’ll find comprehensive listings by food and by pesticide. For example, for spinach the USDA Pesticide Data Program found 48 synthetic manufactured pesticide residues — with 8 Known or Probable Carcinogens; 25 Hormone Disruptors, 8 Neurotoxins and 6 Development or Reproductive Toxins for humans — and in addition,environmental effects that include 23 honeybee toxins.
    And that’s the story for most commercial, industrially-grown grown plant-based foods that ends up on our plates. There’s heavy use even on minor crops that are generally pest-free and can easily be grown without pesticides — USDA found 17 pesticides used on Cilantro alone.
    And yes, these foods can be (and are) grown without these toxic pesticides affecting our food, water, soil, air, food security and public/personal health… and the only label that verifies that is Organic.

  • Michele Simon

    Dear Anonymous rep of “Food and Farming Alliance,” seems your website fails to reveal your org’s funders. However, I did discover this page on Sourcewatch, which tracks corporate PR:
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Alliance_for_Food_and_Farming

  • Gail L Ross, MS Naturopathic Nutritionist

    As a former RD, I have broke(3x)from ADA and written to ADA about this kind of thing before. They will not listen.Despite your efforts you can not get many jobs without the RD credential and you lose credibility when you venture from the box you are supposed to practice in. It is like trying to tell the AMA that they can no longer use the pharmaceutical companies for their conventions. It is not gonna happen. The lies will be candy coated to mask the truth and unless you do your own research you won’t know the truth yourself. A large percentage of your colleagues will believe the lies and discredit you when you stray from the herd (of sheep). Hiding behind a false mask of science based evidence is a joke. Most dietitians are unaware of a thing called scientific fraud or setting a study up to get the results you want. Do your homework and dig a little deeper and wider than inside the box. I say Be Courageous and Help Make A Difference! There are a few who do! The truth is out there…….

  • http://smallbites.andybellatti.com Andy Bellatti

    Jack,
    While I understand the frustration you express, I think it is important to not put all dietitians in the same bag. We don’t all shill for Big Food, and many of us are definitely not in agreement with ADA’s insiduous partnerships.
    I know I speak for myself and fellow RDs who are members of HEN when I say that this Big Food co-optation is an embarrassment and a hindrance to the profession.
    Andy Bellatti, MS, RD

  • Karen

    Great article! I am a registered dietitian and a member of the ADA and have always been very dissapointed and embarrassed in the ADA’s decision to accept money from these companies. It makes dietitians look bad and contradicts everything I teach and believe in.

  • Tiffany G, RD & ADA Member

    This is a one-sided and therefore misleading portrayal of ADA and FNCE. I understand that you are hoping to create controversy to sell more books. However, you’re being quite irresponsible.
    Yes, ADA has partnered with large corporations that sell foods that I don’t personally recommend or consume as an RD. Never in my career have I taken or used messaging from a corporate sponsor. Never. It simply does not influence my practice.
    I don’t see any pictures in your post of the many commodity boards, publishers, food service vendors or government and education exhibitors that attended. The Walnut Board, California Strawberries, Almond Board, Peanut Board, Pistachios, Pecans, Raisins, Blueberries, Pears, Honey, Lara Bar, CLIF, Amy’s, Chobani, Kettle Cuisine, Healthy Dining Finder… Yep these and many, many more were all there.
    It appears that you were so busy trying to make your case, that you missed sessions on the role of omega 3 fats in reducing depression, the latest evidence on diet and preventing metabolic syndrome or the great sugar debate which I think presented both sides in depth without any bias.
    I would personally love to see a completely healthy food supply for every American. It would be phenomenal if these companies that employee hundreds of thousands of employees to be able to do so selling whole, healthy foods but that’s not were we are yet. I think the expo floor is representative of what’s in the market place. It is up to the consumer to demand changes with their dollar.
    So Michele, besides selling your books, what do you hope to get from this “sting operation”?

  • Gail L Ross, MS Naturopathic Nutritionist

    As a former RD, I have broke(3x)from ADA and written to ADA about this kind of thing before. They will not listen.Despite your efforts you can not get many jobs without the RD credential and you lose credibility when you venture from the box you are supposed to practice in. It is like trying to tell the AMA that they can no longer use the pharmaceutical companies for their conventions. It is not gonna happen. The lies will be candy coated to mask the truth and unless you do your own research you won’t know the truth yourself. A large percentage of your colleagues will believe the lies and discredit you when you stray from the herd (of sheep). Hiding behind a false mask of science based evidence is a joke. Most dietitians are unaware of a thing called scientific fraud or setting a study up to get the results you want. Do your homework and dig a little deeper and wider than inside the box. I say Be Courageous and Help Make A Difference! There are a few who do! The truth is out there…….

  • Dina Aronson, MS, RD

    It’s a mixed bag, being a dietitian yet being subjected to this sort of (completely justified) scrutiny. As others have mentioned, not all RDs are created equal. If enough like-minded folks become dietitians and join the ADA (as painful as it sometimes is), perhaps our voices will finally be heard and we can provoke change from the inside out.
    The ADA isn’t pure evil; outside of the shameful industry bias and financial ties, there’s a lot of good there. For example, it allows grants us member benefits like the Dietetic Practice Groups (one you mentioned hunger & environmental, also vegetarian nutrition, etc.), which allow us to voice important issues and create “positions” on behalf of the organization that support our causes.
    Had to comment on your reference to Marianne Smith Edge. A few years back I attended her lecture (for the New York State Dietetic Association) entitled: “The Organic Debate: Is the Premium Worth It?” It was the most biased presentation I have ever witnessed. All research suggesting any harm of pesticides was COMPLETELY eliminated. It killed me to witness students and new dietitians furiously taking notes and nodding their heads along. (Those seeds get planted early on!) When I challenged her with opposing facts at the end, I was essentially ignored and dismissed. I do not understand how this woman continues to be respected by our profession.
    Anyway, nice job, as always, Michele.

  • http://www.ewg.org/agmag DonEWG

    Funding for the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides does not come from organic companies. The guide is funded by our individual supporters.
    You can see our funding breakdown two clicks from our home page here:
    http://www.ewg.org/about/funding#.Tpx56XGRk8g
    And since we do believe in and advocate for transparency, EWG does receive support from organic companies, which accounts for less then 1% of our overall budget and is usually in the form of in-kind gifts such as coupons or product donations for events.

  • http://www.ewg.org/agmag DonEWG

    Alliance for Food and Farming wrote:
    “we don’t have millions of dollars to spend on PR”
    But you do have our tax dollars to help sell the notion that chemicals designed to kill are perfectly safe for kids to eat:
    http://www.ewg.org/agmag/2010/09/taxpayers-funding-pro-pesticide-pr-campaign/
    And you don’t need millions in PR to realize that posting as the Alliance for Food and Farming — as opposed to posting as a real human — is a base reflection of the fact that you’re an industry front group trying every trick to get families to feed their kids pesticides.

  • Alliance for Food and Farming

    Steve: We are not affiliated in anyway with the U.S Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. Also your statement that we have hundreds of thousands of dollars to work with is also a gross exaggeration and you know it because you looked at our tax return. Again, this is the problem. We don’t talk about the credibility of the science we just look to discredit those who don’t happen to agree with a certain point of view. How does this advance the discussion, Steve?

  • http://smallbites.andybellatti.com Andy Bellatti, MS, RD

    Dina,
    The Marianne Smith Edge presentation you mention sounds painful. It reminds me of how upset I felt during the “How Risky Is Our Food?” session which Michele excellently summarizes in this piece.
    Not only was the message problematic, but a good amount of the audience (these were RDs, mind you) would chuckle at silly “digs”. For instance, Carl Winter put up a cartoon image of a man eating a bowl that had a huge stalk coming out of it. The caption read something along the lines of “the dirt and bugs add an extra crunch”. The joke, ‘of course’, being that eating organic is just about eating dirt.
    All I can say is, I was relieved when Michele and some others (including many RDs from HEN) took to the microphones to ask questions and/or express their incredulousness at the “BPA is safe, pesticides are safe” message in light of so much research showing otherwise. Incidentally, the night before, HEN had a ‘film feastival’ event where they showed “Living Downstream”,a documentary all about the harmful effects of pesticides (based on the book of the same title).

  • Alliance for Food and Farming

    DonEWG: So glad you engaged and commented. Can you tell us when/if you will submit the Dirty Dozen Report for peer review in the Journal of Toxicology? Looking forward to your answer. Thanks.

  • msimon

    Tiffany,
    The suggestion that I wrote this article to “sell more books” is quite amusing. As any freelance writer can tell you, the time and expense of covering an event like this (FSN did not cover my travel costs) is a net loss economically. I could hardly make that up with book sales. It’s not like I had a booth at the ADA expo.
    As for the criticism by you and others that this report is biased or narrow in scope. Yes, it’s certainly true there were other booths that you mentioned and other sessions that I did not have time to cover. I am certain if you looked for other media coverage of the event, you could find mention of those, probably quite positive in their spin. But I challenge you to find one other mainstream news coverage similar to mine. I did set out to cover the ENTIRE event, that would have been impossible, unless I was writing a series of articles. So, I chose an angle that I knew would be missing from most other coverage and one that is critical to explain.
    And I said in the very first sentence, I went to see what others had been telling me for years, so I did not exactly make this up.

  • Teresa

    DonEWG – EWG’s funding may not come directly from organic companies, but your website notes that the majority of your funding comes from “foundations” — many of which routinely fund “research” that supports the organic industry.

  • Steve

    Agreed — growing your own food is ideal — and more and more people are doing that.
    For those that can’t, thankfully there are alternatives. Whether the Big Foodists acknowledge it or not we all have a lot to thank EWG and a host of other hard working alternative agriculture groups, foundations etc. that have stepped into the role of watchdog in our food system after USDA, EPA, FDA and our other agencies abdicated and sold out their public responsibility to the industrial ag corporations (despite some good people trying to work for good there).
    Those who want to believe (or are paid to support) that pesticides, GMOs, antibiotics in livestock, factory farms, feed lots, growth hormones, petrochemical fertilizers, ag oligopoly, oppressed farm workers, junk food, dead zones, futures speculation, marketing to children, ETC are good for you might want to revisit some assumptions and check out some alternatives.
    Just as the mask is being ripped off the Corporations’ smily-face PR branding to reveal the ruinous extent of their destructive self-servingness, the fast-growing Good Food Movement is working to Occupy our food system all for the better. This is what democracy looks like.

  • Ben Boom

    Dear “Alliance for Food and Farming”: did you consider using a real name so we could figure out who we are really hearing from? Honestly, you strike me as either a shill or a troll. I post my own name whenever I actually make comments which require some sort of credibility (and accountability); luckily for you, this allows you to think this one is incredible, LOL.

  • Michele Simon

    Tiffany,
    The suggestion that I wrote this article to “sell more books” is quite amusing. As any freelance writer can tell you, the time and expense of covering an event like this (FSN did not cover my travel costs) is a net loss economically. I could hardly make that up with book sales. It’s not like I had a booth at the ADA expo.
    As for the criticism by you and others that this report is biased or narrow in scope. Yes, it’s certainly true there were other booths that you mentioned and other sessions that I did not have time to cover. I am certain if you looked for other media coverage of the event, you could find mention of those, probably quite positive in their spin. But I challenge you to find one other mainstream news coverage similar to mine. I did set out to cover the ENTIRE event, that would have been impossible, unless I was writing a series of articles. So, I chose an angle that I knew would be missing from most other coverage and one that is critical to explain.
    And I said in the very first sentence, I went to see what others had been telling me for years, so I did not exactly make this up.

  • http://nthmost.com Naomi Most

    As someone who considered becoming an RD but balked at the idea of being a shill for the ADA — and this was in the early 2000s — I have to say I’m not surprised that the scene is apparently “more of the same”.
    Given the above farce, are there any groups of RDs gone renegade?

  • http://www.ewg.org/agmag DonEWG

    EWG’s Alex Formuzis burns down the agrichemical industry’s peer review straw man.
    http://www.ewg.org/agmag/2011/10/pesticide-hacks-attack-popular-shoppers-guide/

  • Alliance for Food and Farming

    DonEWG: So the answer is “no.” Which is interesting because Dr. Winter’s peer reviewed work in a “scholarly journal” clearly shows that this “Dirty Dozen” list does a disservice to consumers because of flawed methodology and lack of risk based information. So, it would make sense if you believe the list is valid and useful that you would go to a third party for verification that it is, in fact, a valuable tool for consumer. At least we received an answer from you – thanks for the “no” response.

  • http://www.ewg.org/agmag DonEWG

    And as far as the UC Davis report, EWG researchers tell me after looking at it that they use less than precautionary assumptions like:
    - the main sticking point with UC Davis is that they calculate risks for average adults – not children
    - they look at yearly average consumption for each crop, not seasons where the food is more intensely eaten
    - they do not look at all the pesticides on a crop (celeries have 57)
    - they do not look at all the sources of a pesticide in a person’s diet.
    EPA takes a different tact in assessing pesticide risks. It focuses on children age 2 to 5 who are a vulnerable population for pesticide toxicity, look at all sources of pesticides in kids diets, drinking water and home environment, and wherever possible the additive effects of pesticides.
    Using this approach they have made numerous restrictions to pesticide permissions that have improved the safety of commercial produce — despite vigorous objections by agrichemical interests.

  • http://www.ewg.org/agmag DonEWG

    Dear Alliance for Food and Farming Bot,
    Its a guide. Claiming that it needs to be peer reviewed is a straw man argument. I guess next we’ll have to have our farm subsidy database — a valuable tool for taxpayers — peer reviewed since it also compiles USDA data.

  • http://www.ewg.org/agmag DonEWG

    Yo, AFF BOT,
    Can you also please list — in the name of transparency — the complete and comprehensive list of all your members now?
    http://www.foodandfarming.info/about.asp

  • Alliance for Food and Farming

    DonEWG: Again if you want to address the science, then EWG should really have a credible third party assess your report. Obviously, the UC Davis study stands up to a rigorous peer review assessment and process. But we’re very happy that you agree with the findings of another group of scientists which also analyzed the pesticide residue issue – they state, “The U.S. EPA’s current process for evaluating the potential risks of pesticides on food is rigorous and health protective. The EPA’s testing requirements for pesticides used on food are more extensive than for chemicals in any other category and include testing targeted specifically to assess the potential risks to fetuses, infants and children. You can find the full report at safefruitsandveggies.com in the research section. You might also want to access a new report that shows that two of the three most used pesticides in California are registered for both organic and conventional production.

  • http://www.ewg.org/agmag DonEWG

    AFF BOT,
    I’m looking through the Alliance for Food and Farming’s 990 tax forms, why did you feel the need to remove the mention of
    “Promote the benefits of agriculture chemicals” from your 2010 disclosure?
    Its in the 2009 one.

  • Alliance for Food and Farming

    DonEWG -Is there a reason you are referring to us as AFF BOT? Is that some sort of name-calling? I know most of the EWG staffers come from the world of politics, but AFF staffers come from the farming world where we are more familiar with polite and civilized dialogue, even when we disagree.

  • http://www.baconwrapthis.com Geoff Johnston

    That report on safefruitsandveggies.com also shows a 66 percent decline in the pounds applied of traditional broad-based pesticide materials over a 12-year period. I definitely encourage people to check it out. We live in a treacherous world and compete with the environment and other animals/bugs that want to eat the food farmers are trying to produce.
    Sure organics are cool, but they use pesticides, too. And, as the report mentions, organically certified pesticides are the #1 and #3 most-used pesticides on California farms.
    Also, the majority of conventional producers are not the big beef or mega corn grown for process types of farmers. Many are small to medium family-run farms. Conventional farmers that I know and have worked with in California are using some really progressive and sustainable techniques that would surprise a lot of people. But they have been vilified over and over when all they are trying to do is get their apples, blueberries or peaches to market at a reasonable price to as many people as possible and safely. Applying a pesticide or fertilizer on their product is the most expensive input in their farming operation. It does not make sense for them economically to apply a product any more than they have to. Not to mention they live on the land they work.
    The report on Safefruitsandveggies.com also shows the phasing out of organophosphates. Pesticide manufacturers for what they are worth are coming out with softer chemicals year after year but it takes time to get a new chemical to market because of all the testing and regulations they go through. In the chemical world a pesticide used for food is the most regulated chemical type there is, more regulations and testing than chemicals used to make toothpaste for example. They are always studying and researching both in the field and in the lab to learn and adapt to the new science that becomes available. I am not a pesticide company advocate but If we are willing to support the science behind renewable technology we should also support science and technology that helps us produce more fresh fruits and vegetables. Or at least support the constant development of better ways to farm. Some might hail organics as the answer, and somewhere in between there is truth to that. But I believe that most people have a misconception of the difference between organic and conventional in the first place and the impact to the environment from both methods.
    The produce industry has been bashed and misrepresented by the EWG and others for years and it’s a shame that a Washington D.C. based lobbying group has more influence with the media and consumers than the producers themselves. The EWG has a tradition of fearmongering that I hope more people realize is b.s.
    The produce industry’s big scary agenda is very simple – they want you to eat more produce. Organic and conventional.
    The Alliance For Food and Farming’s goal is to provide consumers with as much information about fresh produce farming as possible and get people to realize that the EWG is full of it.
    EWG’s so anxious to name names on who supports the Alliance… Well my name is Geoff Johnston and I support the Alliance as well as conventional and organic fresh produce farmers. Go ahead and do your best to smear my name, Don. I’ll be curious to see what kind of stupid crap you come up with.
    When you’re done spreading your fears I’ll be down to meet in the middle to figure out how we’re going to feed the world.

  • http://www.ewg.org/agmag/ DonEWG

    AFF BOT – yes, its meant to be derogatory in the sense that you continue to post as an industry front group and not as an identifiable human. I’d be glad to call you Sally or Joe. That’s how these discussions work best — real people talking about issues not industry front groups. And in the future I won’t be responding unless there’s a warm —identifiable — body on the other side.
    Please, don’t retreat to the “we’re just a bunch of aw shucks farmers who don’t like spirited discussion”. I grew up in South Dakota with corn, soybean, cattle and hog farming grandfather, uncles, cousins and it never ceases to amaze me how farmers allow their front groups to act so sensitive when we question your profit motives and tactics — the farmers I know and grew up with have thicker skin than that. I mean c’mon, if you can successfully pull a crop from the ground every year what do you care about a dash of snark from some enviro?
    And don’t knock a background in politics. It’s easy for the big food companies you represent to write PAC checks to candidates to get favorable votes, or get intimate closed door access to the highest level of USDA officials:
    http://www.ewg.org/agmag/2011/05/their-spray-rigs-in-a-twist/
    but for many folks concerned about their food and environment who have no access to power – the door to door grassroots advocacy I learned in politics is key to combating monied interests out to protect their damaging practices.
    But if you really are this small farmer cooperative why not list the groups involved? I suspect because the list would contain agrichemical companies and the largest industrial growers. So how about it, release the names. We know some of the big interests involved from this Source Watch article:
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Alliance_for_Food_and_Farming
    And Jill Richardson looked further here:
    http://www.alternet.org/health/147448/meet_the_food_industry_front_groups_that_push_for_carcinogens_in_your_food/?page=entire
    “perhaps you’ve heard of the California Strawberry Commission’s pet cause du jour: legalizing the pesticide methyl iodide, a carcinogen so potent it is used to induce cancer in the lab. In other words, this is not the bunch that government regulators and health professionals should turn to for unbiased, factual information about the danger of pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables.
    Front groups are a common vehicle industry uses to delude, confuse, and sometimes overtly defraud the public.”
    What’s truly offensive is AFF’s profit motivated stand that it’s perfectly safe for kids to eat chemicals designed to kill living organisms.
    But this is getting frivolous, and so I’d like to address your claims about science and peer reviews in my next comment…..

  • http://www.ewg.org/agmag/ DonEWG

    AFF — Public health experts have indeed endorsed EWG’s approach in the Shopper’s Guide. In a 2010 publication, Harvard School of Public Health professor Chensheng (Alex) Lu studied pesticide residues on children’s food and found that they roughly are the most frequently eaten foods were on EWG’s Dirty Dozen list, and suggested parents use the Shopper’s Guide to “keep nutritional foods in their children’s diets but avoid the intake of pesticide residues in the high-pesticide-risk items.”
    http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.1002044
    And the study was published in the federal government funded journal “Environmental Health Perspectives” by all accounts the leading scientific journal for environmental health research.
    Here are some highlights (can I mention Harvard again?):
    “As stated by EWG, the philosophy behind the Shopper’s Guide is to “give consumers the information they need to make choices in order to reduce pesticides in their diets.” Instead of conducting complex dietary pesticide risk assessments, the Shopper’s Guide provides a qualitative comparison on the overall load of pesticides found on commonly eaten fruits and vegetables. We found that 5 and 6 of the top 12 most consumed food commodities by CPES-WA (apple, peach, grape, carrots, and lettuce) and by CPES-GA children (strawberries, apple, pear, carrots, spinach, and peach), respectively, are among the top 12 most contaminated food items ranked by the Shopper’s Guide’s published in 2009. In fact, all of the top 12 most contaminated food items listed in the Shopper’s Guide’s were consumed at different frequencies by the CPES children. Because some of the high-pesticide-risk commodities, such as peaches, grapes, and pears, are usually not available to the consumers year round, seasonal variations in dietary pesticide exposures and risks may not be captured by risk assessors if seasonality is not taken into account when defining common dietary consumption patterns.”
    Recall that the UC Davis study did not take into account seasonality as the Harvard researchers indicated.
    “Regardless, the findings from this study could be used for the basis of future regulatory decisions in terms of implementing a routine pesticide residue monitoring program within the PDP focusing on food items that are commonly consumed by children and on pesticides that are routinely detected in those foods. These data, along with seasonal consumption patterns, would be very useful in dietary pesticide risk assessment. In addition, the findings from this study, along with other reports (e.g., EWG’s Shopper’s Guide), could be used by parents and caregivers who want to keep nutritional foods in their children’s diets but avoid the intake of pesticide residues in the high-pesticide-risk items.”
    And
    “Although CPES pesticide residue levels were within the ranges of PDP data for corresponding years, there were a few exceptions in which the residue levels exceeded the highest values reported by PDP. We found that many of the food items consumed by the CPES children were also on the list of the most contaminated food commodities reported by the EWG. The observed seasonal and geographical differences in the type of pesticides and residues found in commonly consumed food items will affect dietary exposure and risk assessments and should be taken into account in risk assessments. Although none of the pesticide residues measured in the CPES exceeded the U.S. EPA’s tolerances, the frequent consumption of certain food commodities with episodic presence of pesticides that are known to cause developmental and neurological effects in young children underlies the need for further mitigation and should be monitored routinely by PDP.”
    Best
    Don Carr, Environmental Working Group

  • http://www.ewg.org/agmag/ DonEWG

    Geoff Johnston:
    Listen boss, it took two minutes to figure out you make your living as a digital PR employee for the bulk of California agriculture, including AFF’s site:
    http://www.mjrcg.com/work/#/ag/
    http://mjrcg.com/about/geoff
    So you get direct compensation for pushing pesticides. Of course you’d promote Safefruitsandveggies.com, chief; you were paid to build it.
    Yes, we have an office in DC. We also have one in Oakland and in corn country in Iowa.
    But here’s something maybe you don’t realize in your work designing digital campaigns. In the past farm bills and the upcoming one EWG has been fighting for more federal support not just for organics, but for conventional fruit and vegetables in California.
    http://www.ewg.org/agmag/2010/05/californias-skewed-farm-subsidy-priorities/
    So we fight for more federal support for your clients, which in turn helps pay your bills.
    Is this the stupid s*** you were talking about?

  • Alliance for Food and Farming

    DonEWG: Thanks for admitting that you are being derogatory. And, as for repeated and continuous “industry front group” labels among other name-calling, you should know that we are very very proud to represent farmers of fruits and vegetables. They are committed to safely producing the foods that everyone agrees we should ALL be consuming more of (even EWG clearly states on their website that consumers should be eating more produce – both organic and conventional). The nutritional benefits of eating the products from the farmers we represent are absolutely indisputable. People should also remember that farmers’ families are the first to consume what they grow, so safety is of the utmost priority.
    As usual, whenever we engage with EWG, it is always an enlightening experience. We’ll be discussing this exchange on our blog at safefruitsandveggies.com in the next couple of days.
    Our thanks to Food Safety News for allowing us to engage in this dialogue.

  • James Everett

    Gosh, I’m really enjoying the drama (and science, and citations) rolling out here. AFF, you had me going for a sec, but I find the last few comments by Don really compelling. What happens next? SO EXCITING!
    AFF, you also missed a bit where he said:
    “I’m looking through the Alliance for Food and Farming’s 990 tax forms, why did you feel the need to remove the mention of
    “Promote the benefits of agriculture chemicals” from your 2010 disclosure?
    Its in the 2009 one.”
    I was really looking forward to that answer when you instead decided to say something distracting and homely. Naughty, naughty!
    Aaaaaaand GO!

  • John, RD

    First I would just like to say is that this article is somewhat biased, but I do agree on certain viewpoints. I’ve watched the ADA slowly get bought out by these big food corps. I and many RD’s that I know refuse to join the ADA and this is part of the reason among others. Just look at the current JADA’s and compare them from 10 years ago. I am definitely proud of being an RD, but not sure if the ADA now AND is going down the right direction or I should say falling off the right path to help better our profession and growth. I guess it’s inevitable that $ and politics gets more and more involved in such an industry…

  • http://www.baconwrapthis.com Geoff Johnston

    @Donewg
    Ehhh not as wild as I thought coming from your org, but thank you for the plugs. Also, I think you forgot to throw in turbo and champ :) Sadly I don’t get paid to post, I participate in these dialogues on my own time. I don’t exist to promote or push pesticides but I do encourage a more balanced debate on their benefits vs risks.
    As you can see from our work, a large part of what we do is helping producers tell their story. Somewhere down the line farming became a myth for most people and the media started reposting press releases from groups like the EWG who weighted the story so far in one direction that the objective viewpoint was lost. Consumers were misguided, conventional farmers became evil, organics were misrepresented and the media ate up the controversy. I think we are spinning our wheels on this organic vs conventional debate. We can have that discussion once we successfully wean everyone off processed foods.
    And I’m proud to have helped build http://www.safefruitsandveggies.com – It echoes my personal belief that we should not be afraid to eating conventional and organic fresh produce.

  • CaliGirl2

    Hey DonEWG…..thanks for posting Geoff’s bio link!! WOW, he’s HOT and sounds like a really cool guy….

  • rick

    I will take Organics over pesticides anyday, so good reporting FSN keep up the good work. To all you pesticide loving peeps…good luck with that 1 out of 4 cancer i’m sure you will get!

  • Mary

    Yes–let them eat organic pesticides! From NPR: Organic Pesticides: Not An Oxymoron
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/06/18/137249264/organic-pesticides-not-an-oxymoron
    I call on the organic industry to stop using any pesticides at all–no Bt, no copper, nothing. If it kills stuff it can’t be any good for humans, right?

  • http://www.ewg.org Alex Formuzis

    Leading Scientists Rely on and Back EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides
    By Sonya Lunder and Alex Formuzis
    A central theme of today’s Food Day is to work toward a more sustainable, healthy, less chemical-intensive food and farm system in the U.S. The Environmental Working Group shares this goal and thought it important for those concerned about the presence of toxic chemicals in food that nationally-recognized public health experts have endorsed EWG’s approach to creating its popular Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.
    Chensheng (Alex) Lu, Associate Professor of Environmental Exposure Biology at Harvard School of Public Health has advised parents and caregivers to use the Shopper’s Guide to “keep nutritional foods in their children’s diets but avoid the intake of pesticide residues in the high-pesticide-risk items.” Lu’s comments came in a study published in the federally-funded journal Environmental Health Perspectives, that found that about half of the foods most frequently eaten by children were on EWG’s Dirty Dozen list.
    Full post here:
    http://bit.ly/p312Ss

  • Alliance for Food and Farming

    Alex and Sonya – We would be very interested to see a response to Mary’s point that any and all pest control tools are bad. What is EWG’s position on the use of organically approved pesticides?
    Please see our new blog posting at safefruitsandveggies.com.
    Thanks.

  • Jeff

    For any nutrition professionals looking to find a great annual meeting to learn and keep up with your CE’s I highly recommend Andrew Weil’s Nutrition & Health Conference. It has more progressive research, debate, discussion without being influenced by industry (they do have a small expo section with about 5 vendors all hand-selected by Dr. Weil). And get this, they actually serve the healthy food they recommend. Sorry if this sounds like a sales pitch but I ditched FNCE years ago in favor of this one and have never looked back.
    Info here: http://www.nutritionandhealthconf.org/

  • http://www.reclaimingpdx.com jamie smith, holistic health counselor

    thanks, michele, for presenting an ‘alternative’ perspective on the conference. your voice is important in a corporate dominated landscape and media focus.
    @jeff, thanks to the link to dr. weil’s conference.

  • http://www.lifelongweigh.com Ali Miller, RD, LD

    Thanks Michele! As a practicing dietitian, it can be difficult to bring clients beyond the scope of the food industry and work to reintroduce them to whole foods but this should be the purpose of our practice. Let thy food be thy medicine. I enjoy the challenges of working with a patient-base and teaching them how to prepare foods to make nutrient-dense recipes that are healing to the body. I lecture on the harms of food additives, pesticides, and excessive intake of refined carbohydrates or processed proteins and oxidized fats. I want to make clear that all dietitians are not alike and I for one, have decided to deny membership to the ADA based on their poor judgement and corporate interest over public health based agenda.

  • Pedro Sun

    Hello everyone
    Very interesting reads on the comments section and great article Michele!! This goes out to the dietitians who are no longer members of the ADA. I’ve only been a member for a while (since 2007 I believe)but, I believe there is a lot of good that can be done within the ADA. I believe there are many dietitians who feel the same way, as I talked to a lot of them at FNCE this year. There are dietetic practice groups within the ADA that are working very hard to change the ADA from within. So I feel if there are issues with the ADA, I think a solution would be to join the DPG’s that best represent one’s philosophies and from there, we can work together to give our opinions and ideas to what we/you feel is best for the Association. I know, it sounds highly utopian/idealistic, but I believe in strength in numbers to change.
    Pedro Sun

  • Mark

    Can any of you provide scientific citations to support your statements? I’d especially like to see reference showing that the pesticides in our foods are causing cancers and other diseases as suggested by some of these comments.

  • http://MicroVitaSuperLife.com pratik

    Mark: Who would pay for this kind of no-commercial research? But if you look around there’s enough to go. Anything that isn’t real food or natural medicine, is harmful.
    http://MicroVitaSuperDiet.com

  • Jason

    I enjoyed reading this article. This kind of corporate influence at conferences goes beyond dietetics. Our professional organization for communication disorders is really stepping up to combat these conflicts of interest. Continuing education units cannot be offered for what are essentially marketing talks (although there are certainly ways that can be got around), speakers need to announce their real and potential conflicts of interest. Also, they have put limits on the swag they offer – a few years ago hearing aid companies were giving away DVD players and hosting huge parties – they are no longer allowed to do this.
    Unfortunately, funding for academic research is dwindling; NIH has less to distribute. Researchers have to open themselves up to potential conflicts of interest, accepting money from corporations, to maintain their research and labs.
    Training professionals, whether they are dieticians, doctors, or therapists, to question the hype and critically evaluate the evidence before making recommendations to their clients should be a priority.

  • Jeff

    What a great article and comments!
    Just a citizen here- er,consumer- who is fed up with our anti-democratic use of the airwaves and inter-tubes to promote the death and destruction of our bodies for the sole purpose of profit.
    We are all now in need of taking personal responsibility for our health and finding ways to make good food the only food we eat. Farmers- it is your responsibility to make good food affordable.
    One way is to include educate people about the *hidden* costs of dangerous “foods” and practices that ruin perfectly good food stuffs.
    California growers- i sympathize, and appreciate that you have been part of a 1/2 century + of feeding the world, but you are now part of the problem of people getting sick, obese, and disconnected from knowing what good food is.
    Organic is not necessarily synonymous with expensive, but it certainly is better tasting and nutritionally dense.
    Please consider nutritional density in judging the cost of a food.
    As a consumer i avoid foods that are grown for shipping- green, hard, tastless crap- now that is a waste of money.
    Good luck to us all in a world dominated by Big Corporations and thanks for this little article telling what is really going on.

  • ken hargesheimer

    Whoever provides the money is in control. The ADA should push Stevia but do not. It is obvious why.

  • http://www.wellfedfamily.net Lee

    They accuse the “food police” of ad hominem attacks – yet they are equally guilty of multiple fallacies like illegitimate expert, mob appeal, chronological snobbery, and ad baculum.

  • Jerry Snyder

    Hard to believe.  Thanks for writing the article.  Check http://www.foodmyths.org.  I am reading a few Anna Lappe books.  She just premiered her new brief video (appearing at that same URL) in Philly last Sunday.  Made available online starting Wednesday, October 24, 2012.