By Michelle Simon
As with other health professional organizations, such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Academy of Family Physicians, ASN has many problematic ties with the food and beverage industry. These ties can taint scientific objectivity, negatively impact the organization’s policy recommendations, and result in industry-friendly research and messaging that is shared with nutrition professionals and the general public alike. Moreover, the media views health organizations like ASN as purveyors of independent and objective information, largely unaware of the many connections with junk food and beverage giants.
ASN sponsors are referred to as “sustaining partners,” a moniker given to companies that pay at least $10,000 a year. There are a total of thirty; The list consists of purveyors of highly processed and minimally nutritious foods and biotech giants. For their financial contributions, sustaining partners receive “print and online exposure, annual meeting benefits, and first choice to sponsor educational sessions, grants, awards and other opportunities as they arise.” In other words, food, beverage, supplement, biotech, and pharmaceutical industry leaders are able to purchase cozy relationships with the nation’s top nutrition researchers.