Two articles have appeared in UK newspapers recently, the Times and the Herald, regarding conflicts of interest. Read full article in Herald here.
“Food Standards Scotland is under pressure over a leading member’s financial links to the confectionery and fizzy drinks industries. Carrie Ruxton, a dietitian who sits on the board of the government's food regulator, was paid by chocolate maker Ferrero and chaired a panel event for the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA). She also cast doubt on a sugar tax weeks after FSS called on the Government to consider the move in a bid to help the nation’s health. David Miller, a Professor of Sociology at Bath University and co-founder of the public interest campaigning organisation Spinwatch, said: “FSS should tighten up its procedures and dispense with the services of those with conflicts of interest.”
Carrie responded read full reply here.
“A few media outlets have recently printed stories about my freelance activities which have the potential to mislead on my integrity and transparency. It could be interpreted from these stories that I am not fit to be a member of the Food Standards Scotland Board because I also undertake consultancy work. On the contrary, my long-term and broad experience of the food industry – working with nearly 100 different companies and trade bodies since 2004 – as well as my track record in the public sector writing obesity strategies and audits, have given me the knowledge to serve effectively on the Food Standards Scotland Board since April 2015.”
Let’s be clear, no one has suggested Carrie is not qualified to advise on matters concerning diet. Carrie has been very open, regarding her financial connections to food companies, but where does the line get drawn? I suspect very few of her connections promote a whole fresh food lifestyle. All too often we have high profile BDA dietitians, advising us in the media, on the correct diet. Very often these people are heavily overweight, that cannot be said of the slim Carrie. I have a sneaking suspicion, Carrie’s diet is very close to mine. A diet based on fresh vegetables, adequate protein and healthy natural fats. A very long way, from the junk food she has helped to promote.