Feed the Truth
Today I am announcing the launch of Feed the Truth, an independent organization that will seek to improve public health by making truth, transparency and integrity the foremost values in today’s food system.
This initiative grew out of my journey at KIND. In March 2015, KIND received a warning letter from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regarding our use of the term ‘healthy’ as a nutrient content claim. We quickly learned that the FDA’s guidance – which was established over 20 years ago – limited total fat intake, regardless of source or type, and prevented nutritious foods like nuts, salmon and avocado from being labeled as ‘healthy.’ In turn, our team educated the public about this discrepancy and propelled the FDA to bring the definition of the term ‘healthy’ up to date with modern nutrition science.
While I’m proud of this win for KIND, I have since learned that there is a lot more work to be done. In September, there was a shocking revelation that gave us a window into how the ‘healthy’ regulation was formed. A JAMA Internal Medicine report found that in the 1960s the Sugar Association funded scientific studies to diminish findings that linked sugar consumption to poor heart health. Instead, the Association used industry-funded research to vilify fats – an act that would go on to directly inform the government’s dietary guidance, spur a surge of low-fat, high-sugar products, and ultimately, distort consumer understanding of all dietary fat. But this is just one of many examples of special interests having a direct, negative impact on public health.
Our society deserves access to unbiased and balanced nutrition information. Feed the Truth will seek to ensure that unbiased science overrules special interest groups by revealing and counteracting the industry’s undue influence in shaping dietary guidance, among other activities that are detrimental to public health.
To ensure autonomy and a lack of interference from me or any other company, three independent voices agreed to form a selection committee. They alone will appoint a Board of Directors. The members of the selection committee – CSPI President Michael Jacobson, NYU Professor Dr. Marion Nestle, and Let’s Move!’s former Executive Director Deb Eschemeyer –will not be paid and will have complete autonomy in the selection of founding Board members, who in turn will be accountable to no one but the public in order to ensure the entity’s actions are for the benefit thereof.
Specific programming will be decided upon by the Executive Director that will be appointed by the Board of Directors, but activities could potentially include grants to support investigative journalism, consumer education campaigns and educational briefings to policymakers and influencers.
I am hopeful that those who become board members and team leaders at Feed the Truth will create an organization that continually keeps the best interest of our society in mind, that levels the playing field and provides resources for those who focus on true research to increase the wellbeing of our society.
To learn more, visit FeedtheTruth.org.
Art is a lie. A lie that makes us realize the truth. – Pablo Picasso
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