Is the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) in bed with Big Food? It’s nearly two years since US public health lawyer Michele Simon first raised the question. She worded it slightly differently at the time. Her answer was an unequivocal “yes” in And Now A Word From Our Sponsors in February 2015. But has anything changed in the interim?
DAA says that it is not in bed with Big Food now and never has been. It claims that its sponsors – “partners”, it prefers to call them – have no influence on the advice it dishes out. It also claims to take “great care to guard against conflict of interest”.
Its critics say otherwise. They say that DAA is heavily conflicted and has been for decades. Critics also say that DAA is little more than a front for the food industry. Read on and make up your own mind.
DAA calls itself the country’s “peak nutrition body”. That’s wishful thinking, say critics. What is clear is that it is a voluntary association of nutrition professionals, with branches in each state and territory and around 6,200 members. Thus, it is relatively small yet extraordinarily influential.