By Phil Lempert, RDBA CEO
These days you can hardly avoid the stories about “fake news” on TV, on line or in print; and while many in the country are aghast at this revelation, fake food news has been around for decades.
How often has a shopper asked you about some product that they heard was a miracle cure on Dr. Oz, Mike Adams, Food Babe or the countless other websites and ‘experts’ that are selling their latest program or product?
Most frustrating is that when you explain the truth and give them the correct information too often they question it or don’t believe it. After all, if it’s on TV or a website with millions of followers, how can it be wrong? Almost weekly, I feel the frustration as well as I try to answer the questions about growth hormones in poultry – where people just don’t want to believe it is regulated and illegal.
Social media has been a terrific tool for retail dietitians to get your health and wellness messages to shoppers and to promote your programs – but as we have seen in our recent Presidential election, social media needs better checks and balances. Facebook is trying to vet out fake news as will all others, but in the meantime its critical to the health and wellness of your shoppers for RDBA members to take the lead and be vigilant.
I recommend that we all follow guidelines to thwart “fake food news”:
Scaring shoppers into believing certain diets or products are a magic bullet is not the solution. Accurate and well-communicated information delivered by educated and trained RDs is!