Big Food is under attack for their contribution to the global obesity epidemic.
If it isn’t restaurants being “forced” to list nutrition info on their menus, it’s soda manufacturers being chastised by politicians or processed food producers being slammed for the high levels sugar, salt & chemicals in their food.
And just like tobacco producers back in the 80s, Big Food is fighting back.
Earlier this week, ABC News uncovered one of their strategies.
David Allison is a renowned scientist who runs an obesity research center at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He has a 108-page resume and has been honored at the White House.
He is also the recently resigned incoming president of the Obesity Society.
Dr Allison resigned his position after his colleagues expressed outrage when he “was paid by the New York Restaurant Association to file an affidavit in its case against New York City and its law requiring restaurants to post calorie information on menus, saying the law might actually make people eat more.
And it’s not just the NYRA.
Allison has been paid by Coca-Cola, Pepsi, the American Beverage Association, Kraft, McDonald’s, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars and Nabisco to say that it hasn’t been proven that their products contribute to obesity.
In addition to over $2.5 million in research grants from private industry, Dr. Allison receives considerable consulting and speaking fees from food & beverage producers.
Critics say Allison is part of a concerted effort by big food to co-opt scientists not only by funding their research but by offering them lucrative speaking and consulting deals, in an effort to confuse U.S. families about the health effects of popular food products.
Such tactics, critics say, are similar to those once used by Big Tobacco.
In a recent commentary in the Journal of the American Medical Association, respected food researchers asserted that the industry has participated in “deceptive science and advocacy.” They say “the food and beverage industry has created or funded front groups reminiscent of the tobacco institute that give the appearance of grassroots support.”
“Big tobacco, big sugar,” food researcher Popkin said, “identical in the way they treat scientists.”
And it’s not just individual scientists.
Hospitals and medical associations take money from food producers to conduct obesity research.
Of course, these organizations are quick to assert that their research is not affected by industry funding.
The American Dietetic Association took money from Hershey to collaborate on a “Moderation Nation” website, to reach millions with a healthy-eating message, they said.
Here’s one of the recipes from the website.
Fudgey Fruit Pizza.
Because nothing says healthy like a fudge pizza does.
Let’s be honest…
- Everybody knows that our population is getting fatter day after day.
- Everybody knows that eating Fudgey Fruit Pizza will make you fat.
However, no one at Hershey or Coca-Cola or McDonald’s or Kellogg’s or Nabisco is forcing you to buy the food that is making the world a fatter place.
We live in a free market.
- If you want to buy food that makes you fat…go right ahead.
- If a company wants to sell you food that makes people fat…go right ahead
But, when a company lies to us – saying that their food isn’t a direct cause of the worldwide explosion of obesity…that’s when people get pissed off.
And when Big Food companies co-opt respected scientists, doctors, medical associations & hospitals to help propagate those lies….people get even more pissed off.
And when people get pissed off, they tell other people. (hint, hint)