RTÉ called to clarify ‘diet expert’s qualifications’ after dairy claim

RTÉ is being called on to clarify the qualifications they relied on when the broadcaster referred to one guest on the Drivetime programme as a “diet expert”.

Dr. Marco Springmann, who works with Oxford University in the UK, was a guest on the programme on Friday, November 15. Joe Healy, the president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), claimed that Dr. Springmann said that dairy is not a food that gives you any health benefit, which Healy said was “extraordinary and incorrect”.

Healy said that the IFA “has been unable to find any reference to a dietary or nutrition qualification on Dr. Springmann’s profile”.

It is extremely concerning that RTÉ would allow someone with no nutritional qualification a platform to comment on the merits of eating certain foods.

“The Department of Health ‘food pyramid’ contains the appropriate dietary advice for people of various ages. This should form the basis for any dietary advice given by the national broadcaster,” Healy stressed.

RTÉ should immediately clarify Dr. Springmann’s qualifications and make a clear statement that the public should follow the advice given by the Department of Health and qualified nutritionists, not by Dr. Springmann,” the IFA president insisted.

According to the website for the Oxford Martin School – part of Oxford University’s Social Sciences Division – Dr. Springmann studies and researches issues such as sustainability, climate change, economic development and changing global dietary habits, and has masters and doctoral degrees in such areas.

However, this profile does not appear to include a degree or qualification relating specifically to food or nutrition.

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