Last week, after I declared my refusal to watch the HBO series, “Weight of the Nation,” Marlene Schwartz, of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity (a group featured in the program) politely suggested that I give all four episodes a chance before I criticize. I did. It was even worse than I feared.
Posts Tagged ‘junk food’
PepsiCo makes money selling salty and sugary foods and whatever the aims it has stated in Performance with Purpose, it cannot get away from this, says Michele Simon.
When I ask people to name the largest food company in America, most don’t realize the answer is PepsiCo. You may just think soft drinks when you hear the name, but PepsiCo actually owns a dizzying array of food and beverage brands across five massive divisions: Pepsi-Cola, Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Tropicana, and Quaker Oats. As I recently told CNBC for their documentary, Pepsi’s Challenge, perhaps the leading maker of sugary drinks and salty snacks should bear some responsibility for America’s bad eating habits.
In August, I reported on a lawsuit against ConAgra for deceptive labeling of its Wesson brand of cooking oils as "natural." The case alleges that the products contain genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), which are not by any stretch of the imagination, natural. A similar case was recently filed in California (by the same class action firm - Milberg) against Frito-Lay -- the snacks division of food and beverage giant PepsiCo.
The following is from Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy with Center for Science in the Public Interest, which has been leading the fight for decades to stop junk food marketing to children. She writes in response to my previous post.
We need everyone’s help to make sure that the Administration does not use this as an excuse to abandon the guidelines. The industry lobbied hard and got the FTC stripped of its ability to regulate food marketing to kids in 1980. If it succeeds in keeping the government from issuing even voluntary recommendations, the government will never be able to go near food marketing to kids again. Let the Administration know you don’t want them to also cave to industry pressure. Take action here.
Last month, when Congress declared pizza a vegetable, it was hard to believe things could get much worse. But never underestimate politicians’ ability to put corporate interests ahead of children’s health. In the massive budget bill just passed, Congress stuck in language to require the Federal Trade Commission to conduct a cost/benefit analysis before finalizing a report that would provide the food industry with science-based nutrition guidelines for marketing to children. Experts from four federal agencies put heads together, and for the past two years have tried to complete its charge (which ironically, came from Congress in the first place) amidst powerful industry push-back.
Today is the deadline to file comments with Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children. Industry is fighting back hard. See Marion Nestle’s explanation here and submit your own comments here. This is what I just submitted: (I will be writing more on the industry lobbying soon.)
While I commend the IWG for recognizing that the current industry approach is a complete failure, I do not support the idea of voluntary regulations. The food and media industries have demonstrated time and time again that they cannot be trusted to protect children. The voluntary system has gotten us into this mess, so how could it possibly get us out of it? We need government to step in and do its job to protect children from corporate predatory marketing. It’s time for FTC to stop complaining that it does not have the authority to regulate and ask Congress to fix that problem. It’s also time for the smart lawyers at FTC and elsewhere to come up with feasible solutions that will stand up to First Amendment scrutiny. This can and must be done. Now, before it’s too late.
The following op-ed was recently published in numerous newspapers across the country through McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
These days, many companies–and especially food companies–are falling over each other to prove their green cred to consumers. But given the usual challenges of trying to save the planet while you’re destroying it, most efforts amount to a whole lot of greenwashing.
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