09 August 2013

That 'Nutritional Society Clarification'

The Nutrition Society of Sri Lanka (NSSL) has written to The Nation clarifying its position on issues raised in this newspaper on matters related to nutrition [See NSSL statement here]. We responded thus:

While thanking the NSSL for its clarification, we offer the following observations.

The reference to ‘animal nutritionists’ was by the GMOA representative.  We take the NSSL’s word on this point.  We have further questions for the NSSL and are confident that a full response will be forthcoming.

The NSSL was formed in 1972 but parliamentary acceptance through an Act came in 1985, right?

Was a meeting of the membership convened as implied in the statement (‘The council and the membership wish to state…’)?

What action has the Council taken on the report of the Committee on Constitutional Matters submitted in January 2013?  

Nutrition is certainly a multidisciplinary subject, which status has its pluses and minuses.  We contend that only qualified nutritionists can opine on issues such as food safety. Does the NSSL have a sub-committee made solely of such professionals to deal with such issues effectively or are opinions of those with a cursory interest in nutrition or general understanding being passed off as ‘expert opinion’?

When did the SLMC register nutritionists?  Does a medical degree give professional and scientific authority to comment on all things related to nutrition

NSSL has listed names of past presidents.  Do they share the current Council’s position on sponsorship, conflict of interest vis-√†-vis the food industry and the self-glorifying perceptions of the membership and its professional capabilities on the issues raised?

Will the NSSL be kind enough to send us a list of sponsors and their products over the last 10 years, and in the interest of transparency and accountability post it all on the official website of the Society?

Why has the NSSL skirted the conflict-of-interest issues, especially with respect to the Fonterra ‘presence’ in the Council?

Why has the NSSL not addressed the issue of doctoral specialization of the Council members?

How many members of the NSSL have Phds in Human Nutrition