Clear The Air News Blog Rotating Header Image

June 22nd, 2011:

Junk Food Companies Pay For Junk Science


he ADA thinks this is healthy, via Moderation Nation

Forget Big Tobacco (they own too many other companies as it is), Big Food is pumping millions of dollars into scientists so they can obfuscate clear cut research on obesity. The result is an industry that claims that the jury is still out on what exactly causes obesity, so in the meantime have another bag of Funyons. ABC reportsthe case of Dr. David Allison, a scientist who runs an obesity research center in Alabama and former president of the Obesity Society, who has taken $2.5 million in grants from the food industry, not including “consulting or speaking fees.” Allison was one of the scientists who claimed that New York City’s law mandating that the calorie count of foods be displayed would cause people to eat more (not true). “Big tobacco, big sugar,” one researcher says, “identical in the way they treat scientists.”

The researcher breaks down how the food industry plies doctors away from sound science, with “$5,000 to go speak to this meeting or that meeting. You get $2,000 to $5,000 a day. They’ll fly you on business class tickets to exotic places. They’ll take you to Paris or Rio.” Allison later resigned from the Obesity Society, but a larger issue may be the amount of money given to groups by the industry to buy silence from groups that may otherwise oppose them. After receiving $5 million from PepsiCo, Save the Children dropped their long-held promotion of soda tax laws. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia accepted $10 million from Coca-Cola, and even the ADA took money from the Hershey Foods Corporation, then published recipes on their website for“Fudgey Fruit Pizza.” Hey, at least it has fruit!

An article in the New Yorker last month (subscription) details how PepsiCo’s CEO Indra Nooyi is attempting to steer the second largest food-and-beverage company in the world towards producing more healthy snacks that also taste good, including “drinkable oats,” gazpacho, and coconut water. However what makes the company the most money are it’s “fun” products, like Lays potato chips and cold, cold Pepsi.

Contact the author of this article or email with further questions, comments or tips.

By Christopher Robbins in Food on June 22, 2011 5:39