In 2015, a report asked the question: Is the Australian Dietitians Association in the pocket of big food?, as was reported by Croakey at the time. Similar concerns have been aired in many different places over the years.
And then, this week, the DAA released this public statement:
Conclusion of DAA’s Corporate Partnership Program
DAA’s Corporate Partnership Program has been of value to DAA and its members for the last 20 years. However, with the appointment of our new CEO coinciding with outcomes from our recent member surveys, it was timely to conduct a major review.
In April, our members were invited to complete a survey to express their views on DAA’s Corporate Partnership Program. All responses were collated by the DAA Corporate Partnerships Program Working Group and findings were presented to the DAA Board.
The DAA Board, together with new CEO Robert Hunt, have decided to conclude Corporate Partnership Agreements with companies within or related to food manufacturing and food industry associations.
Prior to this decision being made, Nestlé and DAA had already mutually agreed that their partnership would conclude at the end of the year in line with their current contract. DAA will honour existing contractual arrangements until Corporate Partnerships conclude on the 31st December, 2018.
Our Corporate Partners are mutually agreeable on this direction. Despite having robust procedures and policies in place, and both parties valuing and respecting independence, increasingly we are having to refute that our partnerships impact the advice our members provide.
We believe this change will allow our members to feel empowered, and strengthen their positive influence within their practice. Accredited Practising Dietitians in all practice areas have an important role to play and DAA will continue to support members as they work to build healthier communities.
DAA will continue to advocate across the nutrition spectrum, working with all stakeholders including government, food industry, public health representatives, media and others. This change will allow DAA to strengthen our voice around important issues that impact the health of Australians. These issues include obesity, mental health, National Disability Insurance Scheme and a new National Nutrition Policy.
DAA is committed to achieving our vision of being the ‘leading voice of nutrition and dietetics’ and feel this change assists to strengthen our influence in building healthier communities through nutrition.