5 & Wise Wednesday: Food Industry Front Groups and YouPosted: May 22, 2013
With the growing backlash against the unhealthful motives of foodie giants the connections between product advertising, scientific studies, and public relation front groups has become more confusing and grotesque than the Life of Coffee Mate flavors.
Here is a 21st century question for ya, What is a food industry front group? It is a group that appears to benefit the public but in actuality is funded by branded food companies attempting to further an agenda. Some times these groups are long standing, other times they arise out of a quick lobbying need for a specific issue, Such as Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed sweetened beverage cap.
By funnelling money into front groups food industry giants can improve public relations without appearing to have a vested profit driven incentive. Basically, the food industry is not credible and it knows it.
Here are 5 examples everyone should know about:
Mission: “We commit to working together, regardless of type, size or philosophy of our
farms and ranches, to continue improving our food supply.”
Reality: Further mask issues related to food borne illness, monocropping, antibiotic and pesticide usage and other issues related to Big Agriculture
Some http://www.fooddialogues.com/about/alliance-affiliates: DuPont (pesticide manufacturer), John Deere, Monsanto, Cargill
2) New Yorkers for Beverage Choices
Mission: We believe New York City residents and visitors should have the right to buy beverages in any size they choose.
Reality: Protect the image (an therefore profits) of sugar sweetened beverages by invoking personal freedom and diverting attention from public health.
Funding Affiliates: American Beverage Association (Coke, Pepsi, etc.)
Mission: “to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices. We believe that the consumer is King. And Queen.”
Reality: Aimed to attack legislation that threatens the profits and image of the food industry by framing issue as consumer rights threats.
Funding Affiliates: Founded by Phillip-Morris it has had numerous past food industry funders, the current funders are not publicly known
Mission: “dedicated to effectively communicating science-based information on health, food safety and nutrition for the public good.”
Reality: To alleviate public fears related to food engineering and pesticide usage by offering biased industry funded studies.
Calming consumer nerves with nuggets like this: “Based on strong scientific evidence and consensus among a broad representation of scientific and governmental bodies, there is no known food safety concern related to consuming food produced through biotechnology.”
Funding Affiliates: Kraft, McDonalds, Nestle, Pepsi Co, Monsanto, and DuPont to name a few
Mission: “The mission of the Bell Institute and its staff of doctorate-and master-level scientists and registered dietitians is to influence the development of quality products that nourish lives and contribute to healthy living.”
Reality: Pay off a bunch of nutritionist to make sugary breakfast cereal look like health food.
“cereal is on of the healthiest breakfast choices you can make.” provided it is straight up bran.
Don’t distrust all science, just take amount to find the funders before going on the Mountain Dew and Lucky Charms diet.
Comprehensive analysis of these and more Front Groups can be found here at the Center for Food Safety