¶ The politics of genetically modified food has created a rift in a policy-setting committee of the influential Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that demonstrates the difficulty in finding anyone — anywhere — who doesn’t already have an opinion on the issue.
Marissa Roth for The New York Times
Carole Bartolotto, a registered dietitian in California, was removed from an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics panel.
A dietitian working on a panel charged with setting policy on genetically modified foods for the academy contends she was removed for pointing out that two of its members had ties to Monsanto, one of the biggest makers of genetically modified seeds.
“Perhaps it is possible for someone who works for an organization that creates or promotes G.M.O.’s to be objective, however, that would be hard to do,” Carole Bartolotto, a registered dietitian in California, wrote in a Feb. 6 e-mail to an academy executive.
The academy cited her failure to disclose a consulting practice she lists on her blog as its reason for dismissing her, though she insists it is a business in name only.
Last fall, the dietetics academy, which has 74,000 members and whose endorsement is coveted by companies and advocacy groups alike, found itself embroiled in the war over a California ballot initiative that would have required labels on foods made with genetically engineered ingredients.
¶ The official voters’ guide had listed it among a group of scientific organizations and associations that had “concluded biotech foods are safe.”
¶ In fact, the academy pointed out in a news release on Oct. 8, it had not taken a position on the issue. It promised a position paper on genetically modified foods sometime this year.
¶ In December, the academy selected seven members, including Ms. Bartolotto, who is employed by Kaiser Permanente but emphasized she was not speaking on its behalf, to serve on the Advanced Technologies in Food Production work group.