Nutritionists Are Fighting for Their Rights in the StatesMay 15, 2012
Two of the biggest battlefields right now are the legislatures of Michigan and Wyoming. In both cases, laws preventing the best-trained nutritionists from practicing have been passed, but citizens are now attempting to get the Michigan law repealed and have the Wyoming law changed during a critical rulemaking period.
As we have reported previously, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), which used to be the American Dietetic Association, is working state by state to create a legal monopoly and shut out certified nutritionists who may be more qualified. The organization sponsors bills which ensure that only AND-registered dietitians can offer key nutrition services to the public. This not only discriminates against many highly qualified nutritionists (including those who, unlike most Registered Dietitians, have Master’s degrees and PhDs). It also interferes with consumer choice. If trained nutritionists cannot become licensed, they can’t practice—and consumers can’t benefit from their expertise.
For a long time, the Dieticians’ HQ has worked to get their monopolistic bills passed quietly. Once the bills become law, they have held off on pressing for enforcement in order to fly under the radar and and get as many state bills passed as possible. Now that they know we know what is happening and are fighting hard, they are trying new tactics—though we find them equally underhanded.
For example, AND/ADA encourages its members to increase complaints about other nutritional practitioners. It makes the state dietetics boards look busy and important. The Michigan Dietetic Association even hands out prizes to members who file complaints about other nutritionists! This state organization offers its members a form for “documenting harm and/or potential harm from unqualified individuals dispensing nutrition advice and/or products”:
This information will help us make a stronger case to our legislators regarding why we need to have State Legal Recognition of the “Registered Dietitian.” These cases will also help to show why the Registered Dietitian is a necessary member of the healthcare team as the most qualified provider of medical nutrition therapy and nutrition services.
Not only do they target certified nutritionists, they also target supplement use and supplement advice on the same form as being “potentially harmful”:
With regard to supplements, specifics regarding type of supplement, frequency of usage, approximate cost, ingredients, and dosages are helpful. In clinical settings, laboratory data (trends), weight history and diet history before and after R.D. intervention are helpful too.
This is just further evidence that the practice of Dietetics is firmly in the institutionally controlled conventional medicine camp, and is openly hostile to integrative medicine and natural approaches to healthcare.
Note: Be sure to watch the original music video about the AND’s collusion with junk food industry Conflict of Interest by Rob Herring. If you download the song from iTunes, 10% will go to ANH-USA’s efforts to protect nutrition therapy from AND’s monopoly attempts.
In Michigan, Public Act 333 became law in 2006. Under the law, Registered Dietitians are automatically eligible for licensure, but other professionals who incorporate nutrition services into their practice may be prohibited from doing so because they “may subject the public to harm.” However, as the law’s critics point out, “More harm has come from people not understanding how nutrition can improve or destroy health, than from seeking nutrition counseling. The promoters of this law claim the public is being harmed without this law, yet there is no such evidence of harm.”
Naturopaths, chiropractors, certified nutritionists with Masters’ degrees and PhDs, and numerous others would be unable to offer nutrition care services to the public despite having completed post-secondary coursework, supervised training, and certification exams. Since then, our allies in Michigan, spearheaded by the Michigan Nutrition Association, have been working with Michigan’s Office of Regulatory Reinventions (ORR) to get the law repealed.
A huge breakthrough came last month. The ORR recommended that eighteen occupations be deregulated, one of them being Dietitians and Nutritionists. The ORR also recommended that Michigan’s Board of Dietetics and Nutrition be eliminated along with eight other occupational boards. This is a huge step, especially since it is much harder to get a law revoked after it’s already on the books.
Action Alert! If you are a Michigan resident, please contact the your legislators today and ask them to take the ORR’s recommendation seriously and introduce legislation to deregulate dietitians and nutritionists. Please take action immediately!
In Wyoming, a monopolistic AND/ADA-sponsored bill became law recently: the Dietetics Licensure Act. It says that the practice of dietetics and nutrition is controlled by the Dietetics Licensing Board, and practitioners are those credentialed by the Commission on Dietetic Registration, which is run by AND/ADA.
The law is currently in the rulemaking process (in general, legislatures first set broad policy mandates by passing statutes, then agencies create more detailed regulations through rulemaking). The Wyoming Dietetics Licensing Board’s proposed rules include a public comment period through June 6. ANH-USA will submit formal comments in an attempt to to mitigate damage from the law, though we are opposed to this bill altogether and feel it should not be implemented.
Action Alert! If you are a Wyoming resident, please contact the Dietetics Licensing Board today and ask them to make substantial changes in the rules to be more inclusive of other nutritionist professionals. Please take action immediately!
In New Jersey and New York, bills are currently pending that would give more power to Registered Dietitians and severely discriminate against other nutrition specialists.
New Jersey residents, please contact your legislators here.
New York residents, please contact your legislators here.