Victory! Dietitians No Longer Hold a Monopoly in Michigan!

Happy active family jumping
We and our allies have had a successful year so far fighting monopoly in nutritional advice. Here’s an update, including new federal recognition of nutritionists.
On July 15, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed HB 4688 into law, repealing the state’s monopolistic licensure law for nutrition professionals. The Center for Nutrition Advocacy, an initiative of the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS),[1] coordinated the effort on behalf of ANH-USA and other national groups, and worked with the Michigan Nutrition Association.
Michigan passed its Dietitian/Nutritionist Licensure Act in 2006, and we’ve been battling it ever since. As with other dietetics laws, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the AND, formerly the American Dietetic Association or ADA) had created a monopoly for Registered Dietitians, and excluded other nutrition professionals who are often better educated, more experienced, and otherwise as qualified or better qualified than RDs. With your help and a nationwide effort from other activist groups, including hundreds of letters you sent to the Michigan legislature, the current law was overturned, opening the door to other qualified nutritionists.
Other notable successes this year:

  • In New York, ASB 4999, a bill sponsored by the AND which we fought, ultimately died in committee because of all the messages you sent to NY legislators.
  • In last three years, ANH-USA and its allies have managed to block nineteen separate attempts to institute monopolistic dietetic laws across the nation. We also proactively and positively reshaped the anticompetitive law in Illinois, where the AND is headquartered.
  • The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) keeps a list of professions where each is defined in detail and statistics about it are kept. Previously, “Dietitians and Nutritionists” were categorized together, and the AND was listed as the sole certifying organization for the entire profession. In a milestone victory on January 8, 2014, nutritionists managed to get “Nutrition” defined as a different profession than “Dietetics,” and importantly, the BCNS is now identified as the certifying organization for nutritionists. This national, federal recognition of the unique credentials of Certified Nutrition Specialists is extraordinarily important.
  • And don’t forget our recent federal victory in which nutritionists won equal recognition with dietitians for the right to prescribe patient diets in hospitals.

[1] The BCNS was previously the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists or CBNS.


  1. When are that going to get rid of the other monopolies like medical licensing?
    “If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

  2. Strange that people get all excited when they get to exercise a singe God given right out of the tens of thousands that are trampled…

  3. I have nothing against other “qualified nutritionists” giving out nutrition instruction – as long as you can prove that you are indeed qualified to do so. In fact, I welcome the competition with open arms. As for insulting the intelligence of Registered Dietitians by saying:
    “other nutrition professionals who are often better educated, more experienced, and otherwise as qualified or better qualified than RDs”
    You have no basis or grounds to prove this nor do you have any right to say this as 50-60% of RDs actually hold advanced degrees and many more hold advanced certifications.
    I’m sorry your feelings are hurt by RDs actually trying to create standards for nutrition care. It’s not about “creating a monopoly”, it’s because RDs care about the lives of people and don’t want them being influenced from unqualified “pseudo nutritionists.” If protecting people from pseudo-nutrition means creating laws to protect people, than that’s what the Academy will do.
    The Registered Dietitian will always be the highest standard of care in evidenced based nutrition practice, regardless if you disagree with the current laws.

    1. While the authors are indelicate and inaccurate in their description of RDs as being lower creditialed. I believe you are incorrect in your assessment that the organization representing RDs isn’t trying to create a monopoly. There needs to be a general standard of practice for nutrition and dietetics that allows anyone with a accredited degree in nutrition(RD, MS, PhD) and a practical internship to take a board exam (like the CDR, but without some of the food services components) to prove competency and then practice nutrition. This is something the ADA could have done on its own, but rather has tried to exclude anyone who hasn’t gone through RD training. You may not feel this way, but your licensing organization does.

  4. I am not a dietician but if these “wanna be dieticians” are giving out nutrition advice, go to school for it, specialize in what you want, i.e. vegan, then move on. If these others are beating their own drums, then what is the standard? I am a vegan –true, regular dieticians could not help me out, not even my physician. But, we cannot have these so called professionals run a muck “teaching” what they think is right when the have little to no medical background to : assess the patient, their condition and other health problems and meds along with the appropriate individualized nutritional program. There are too many “wanna get rich so called nutritionists.” Go back to uni and get a real degree.

  5. Good work and much appreciation for everyone who helped support this initiative- I surely know somewhat of the energy this takes as we are periodically faced with similar threats from the “medical” naturopaths who draw up house bills with draconian language specifically designed to claim sole ownership of our generally shared Scope of Practice- seeking to make traditional naturopaths, their titles, and their scope illegal.

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