Surgeon General Nominee Consults for Burger King
Benjamin served on fast-food company's nutritional advisory panel
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2009 2:49 PM CDT
Dr. Regina Benjamin poses for a portrait in the waiting room at her temporary clinic in Bayou La Batre, Ala. Thursday, Sept.18, 2008.   (AP Photo/The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Bill Starling)
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(Newser) – Burger King has paid Regina Benjamin, President Obama’s pick for surgeon general, $10,000 this year for serving on an advisory panel to the fast-food giant, the Washington Times reports. Administration reps say the Alabama physician used her position on Burger King’s nutritional advisory board to advocate for low-sodium foods and clear presentation of nutrition information, and plans to resign if and when the Senate confirms her as surgeon general.

Burger King says the panel was formed as part of "ongoing efforts to promote balanced diets and active lifestyle choices." But for some critics, a financial relationship between the would-be surgeon and the home of the Whopper is unacceptable. "Fast-food companies are not public health agencies; their job is to sell fast food—and the more, the better," said Marion Nestle, an NYU nutritionist.