'The U.S. government is overrun with lobbyists and other special interests groups — and the addition of a corn syrup lobbyist to the USDA is surely just the tip of the iceberg. It was recently revealed that the former director of food policy for the Corn Refiners Association — a trade group for the corn syrup industry — would be advising the Secretary of Agriculture and other USDA staff on their Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Should a corn syrup lobbyist really be advising anyone on nutrition?
As International Business Times reports, Kailee Tkacz lobbied for the Snack Food Association before heading up the Corn Refiners Association; it’s hard not to question if real nutrition is her expertise. Shouldn’t dietitians and other health experts be informing the nation’s nutrition policies and dietary guidelines? Big Food’s hand in U.S. food policies is absolutely a disgrace — and this appointment is no different.
As reports indicate, White House staffer Donald McGahn issued an ethics waiver for Ms. Tkacz in August 2017:
“I hereby waive the requirements of paragraph 7 of the Ethics Pledge to Ms. Kailee Tkacz to allow her to advise the Secretary of Agriculture and other senior Department officials with respect to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans process. I have determined that it is in the public interest to grant this limited waiver because of Ms. Tkacz’s expertise in the process by which the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are issued every five years.”
Craig Holman, from the government watchdog group Public Citizen, commented, “Waivers from conflicts of interest should only be granted when expertise from others who have no conflicts is otherwise not available. This lobbyist has a direct and substantial conflict of interest that should disqualify her participation in the matter.”'
Read more: U.S. government is committed to corporations, not the public: USDA dietary guidelines set by corn syrup lobbyists