Dietitian Accuses Dietetics Association of Violating Its Own Code of Ethics

mcds-logoAt issue is the organization’s support of the junk food industry.

Nutrition organizations and health advocates have long criticized the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the former American Dietetic Association) for its collusion not only with the junk food industry, but with the pharmaceutical and agriculture industries.
Tamar Schriger, a dietitian from Metuchen, New Jersey, who now lives in Israel, is claiming that AND/ADA[1] is violating its Code of Ethics by participating in an Israeli nutrition conference that lists McDonald’s as a major sponsor. The conference begins next week.
Schriger, a dietitian in private practice, sent a letter to AND/ADA’s president, Sylvia Escott-Stump, who is scheduled to address the conference, asking her and her international affiliate representatives to withdraw their participation.” As of this writing, Escott-Stump has not yet responded to the letter.
According to the organization’s Code of Ethics, an AND/ADA practitioner “promotes or endorses specific goods or products only in a manner that is not false and misleading”—and that, Schriger claims, is exactly where the organization is erring: “The king of junk food should not be sponsoring a conference titled ‘Mediterranean Diet in the Life Cycle.’ It sends the wrong message on several levels.”
Schriger says some of the AND/ADA’s international affiliates replied to her letter and expressed surprise at the McDonald’s sponsorship, noting that some of their own countries have maintained strict guidelines that prohibit companies that produce infant formula, cigarettes, alcohol, and fast foods from sponsoring industry conferences.
Of course, AND/ADA has a long history with junk food, as we have reported previously. The organization receives payments from Coca-Cola, Hershey, Mars, PepsiCo, and others, though the organization won’t say exactly how much they receive from these companies and industry associations. Not only that, AND/ADA’s credentialing arm, the Commission on Dietetic Registration, has offered continuing professional education courses sponsored by Coca-Cola. At the annual AND/ADA conference, both Big Farma and the junk food industry were clearly represented.
Besides McDonald’s, the Israeli Nutrition Week Conference is sponsored by pharmaceutical giants Abbott Laboratories and Novartis, medical equipment companies Baxter International and Teva Medical, and Megapharm, Israel’s leading private biotech company, among others.
At least Schriger is taking the Code of Ethics seriously, since it calls for dietetics practitioners to uphold the profession by “reporting perceived violations of the Code through the processes established by ADA and its credentialing agency, CDR.” We admire what she has courageously done.
The AND/ADA has a number of bills pending in state legislatures to create a monopoly on the practice of nutrition, effectively barring Certified Nutrition Specialists and others, many with more advanced degrees in the field, from making a living. If you haven’t done so already, please take action and stop these dangerous bills!

Note: Click here to see our follow up article and our response to AND/ADA

[1] While the organization changed its name from the American Dietetics Association (ADA) to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) in January, most people still call it the ADA and don’t yet recognize its new initials, AND. Until the new name “takes root” with people, to avoid confusion we will refer to the organization as AND/ADA.
Update 6/7/12: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Schriger was a Registered Dietitian (RD). Although Schriger practices as a dietitian in Israel, she is not a Registered Dietitian, a title authorized by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


  1. Put Whole Foods on the list with McDonald’s. It also gives the wrong impression about a lot of it’s products. Especially, sweetened and baked goods.

  2. this is what happens when the AND/ada changes its name to try to control the market. Nutritionists are pushed aside or the nutrition side of their practice is not nutritional at all but desceptive those of us who are true nutritionists show them up-BIG TIME. they still try to be control freaks which isolates their tactics. Why don’t they practice what they proclaim? Someday maybe they will understand that the public desires true health and wellness which is supplied by certified health individuals as I am.
    Dr. Marv Ph.D., CND, CHP.

    1. You are inappropriate. I am not sure what RDs did to you. I will not eat my heart out. I see you have letters behind your name… Maybe I should take a weekend long class and become a “doctor” online and then try to give unsound medical advise to patients. It is frustrating to hear you “clump” all RDs together as we all practice differently. Just like nutritionists. There needs to be some regulation over certifications just like PT, OT, Spech, but I don’t hear you complaining about their requirements. You should really think about what you are saying.

  3. What is considered nutritious changes every few months. Milks is good—-milk is bad. Coffee is good—coffee is bad. Fruit has good fructose—-fruit has bad fructose. Cocoanut oil is bad—-cocoanut oil is good. It goes on and on with just about everything.. It always amazes me that there is any person over 25 that is alive because today’s health gurus state that just about anything will kill one.
    Yet there are people in the world that live in mud huts on dirt floors, drink dirty water and eat whatever that is available just like our own ancestors. No purified running water, no indoor plumbing, no electricity, cooking over an indoor open fire. Some live a long time, some do not. Some have good health, some do not. According to today’s social police, we should have died out eons ago…

  4. It’s about time that some of those within the AND/ADA hold their organization accountable to their stated mission. However, since the AND is an extension of Big Farma and Big Pharma, their stated mission and their actual mission may be different. No informed person could argue the fact that the human body needs nutrient dense food to remain healthy and that processed foods from Big Farma do not fall into that category. Big Pharma needs unhealthy people to sell their toxic drugs to so they are not interested in promoting nutrient dense foods as a solution to the health crisis in this country.
    The AND’s move to monopolize the nutrition industry tells me that they and their sponsors want to control what nutritionists are allowed to do. In a free society, which we don’t have, a good nutritionist with good results would have a flourishing business. Any industry that requires laws and regulations to keep out successful competition is self-serving and afraid of losing business. The pharmaceutical based medical industry comes to mind as an industry that allows no open competition even when proven effective.

  5. I attended the Federation of European Nutrition Societies meeting in Madrid last October, and found that Coca Cola was the main sponsor. The booth was placed in a main spot, and cans of coke were featured at lunchtime. The booth’s message was “Hydrate”, naturally there was NOTHING they could say about nutrition. BIG BUCK$ are speaking strongly everywhere – in our politics and organizations. This is terrible. Advocates have to step up. Anyone who is still independent has to speak. It’s a case of “see something, say something”.
    I am the founder of the Annie Appleseed Project, and thanks to family and spousal support, remain an independent cancer advocate.

  6. The only problem with expecting a change is multi-pronged; it assumes honor and integrity from a person who is corporately influenced.
    Every major problem on this planet is caused by corporations and their political whores in govt.
    Every decision made by a corporation has one goal, to make profits, as much and however possible. These decisions are not made by dispassionate legal formations dryly balancing a list of cost/benefit ratios and considering public weal. These choices are made by greedy rich suits looking only to become more wealthy and powerful, and if you believe otherwise, there is a pretty orange bridge near San Francisco i’ll sell cheap. It needs a coat of paint, so – fire sale prices.

  7. You cannot have it both ways. Some of the companies do bottle more nutrient dense items like 100% juices as well bottled water.

  8. I would like to reply to some of the previous posts, but I don’t see them anymore. What happened to them, how can I get the full access to the all posts?

    1. Halina, what posts are you looking for? You can try using the search box at the top of our page, or browsing our Campaigns from the menu bar.

  9. Dr. Marvin why are you so upset with dietitians??? I understand the frustration with ADA/AND but there’s no need to be so bigotted with us true professionals. I have a Master’s in Clinical Nutrition and am a Registered Dietitian – a protected titled bc it shows that we actually have knowledge in the area of nutrition/dietetics. People who simply call themselves “nutritionists” usually have no more than a weekend “certification” in nutrition – APPALLING!!!!
    If you want to practice nutr/dietetics (in the U.S. atleast) you SHOULD have a minimum of a bachelor’s from an accredited university – not some silly online crap. There is a reason we have accreditation and internships.
    As addressed in the update, Schringer is not a Registered Dietitian.

    1. Here is a chance to see what goes on at a global Dietitians conference. A walk through the 16th International Congress of Dietetics located in Sydney Australia. I was astounded by the amount of sponsors from multinational corporations.Companies such as McDonalds, Mars, Nestle, Pepsi, Pfizer, Abbot, Kellogg’s and Unilever are major partners with Dietetics associations globally

  10. Dietitions are nothing any more but lackeys for the food industry; the blatant marketing of so-called nutritional drinks (ha!) with mostly sugar and HFCS as high up on the list of ingredients as recommended by dietitions proves that. I have little respect for dietitions; their degrees are meaningless when they refuse to recognize real food and their organization is in collusion with the junk food industry. I know several nutritionists and their knowledge of real nutrition is far superior to any dietition I have ever spoken with. Period. Having a degree doesn’t mean a darn thing.

  11. Companies such as McDonalds, Mars, Nestle, Pepsi, Pfizer, Abbot, Kellogg’s and Unilever are major partners with Dietetics associations globally. Hundreds of studies were presented none of which had anthing to to about the risks of GMO foods.

  12. Dietitians are not in the ‘back pocket’ of the ADA, you do not have to be a member of the ADA to practice as a dietitian. I made the choice to not renew my membership to the ADA for the above reasons. You need to be registered and lisenced but other than that, you can choose which professional organizations you wish to be part of. If you dislike and disagree with the ADA (now renamed the Academy of Nutrition or somesuch) then you should not be a member. You should not give them fees and you should not use any of their CEU opportunities. I hope more and more dietitians who pratice with integrity will refuse to be members of the ADA.

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