New York, NY — Last week, Daniel Lubetzky, founder and CEO of KIND Healthy Snacks, announced the launch of Feed the Truth, an independent organization seeking to improve public health by reforming the food industry and its self-serving practices through greater transparency and truth. Lubetzky has pledged $25 million to Feed the Truth and has removed himself and his company from its operation to eliminate bias.
Feed the Truth’s mission is to make truth, transparency, and integrity the foremost values in the food industry by revealing and counteracting the industry’s influence in shaping nutrition policy. It will bring together a collection of experts and organizations to ensure that “science overrules special interests” in food regulation, education, promotion, and production. Three unaffiliated public health advocates have volunteered to nominate Feed the Truth’s Board of Directors, who will direct specific programming for the organization. There are already several infographics and relevant media stories on the site to help educate consumers, and other activities may include grants to support investigative journalism, consumer education campaigns, and educational briefings to policymakers and influencers.
“In establishing Feed the Truth, my intent is to elevate reputable science, bolster the voices of the nutrition community, and improve the guidance and information offered to Americans,” Lubetzky said in a press release. “As a business owner, I understand the importance of prioritizing your bottom line, but it’s equally as important to consider how you can succeed while also thinking about the long-term impact on the community.”
The creation of Feed the Truth lies in the history of KIND. With the launch of the whole nut and fruit KIND bars came the rise of a new healthy snacking category, which gave Lubetzky a window to industry operating procedures that often benefited companies financially at the expense of public health. For example, in September 2016, a JAMA Internal Medicine report found that the Sugar Association funded scientific studies to diminish findings that linked sugar consumption to poor heart health in the 1960s. Instead, the Association used industry-funded research to vilify fats. The resultant nutrition policies affected KIND in May 2015, when KIND faced a public confrontation with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration over the usage of the term “healthy” on its packaging based on guidelines on fat intake that were 20 years old. KIND filed a Citizen Petition requesting the agency update regulations to reflect modern nutrition science.
“We’re eager for Feed the Truth to step in and hold all of us in the food community accountable for what we say and claim,” said Lubetzky. “While this ‘Big Sugar’ revelation underscored the need to provide more tools to public advocates, it doesn’t mean that ‘fat’ or ‘protein’ should now be evangelized. Feed the Truth’s independent Board of Directors, once established, will seek to ensure consumers have access to unbiased nutrition information.”
Over the next month, Feed the Truth’s selection committee will identify potential Board of Director candidates and positions are expected to be filled by June 2017.