Ruth Ozeki's second novel, All Over Creation, is praised today in separate reviews in both the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times. Her first novel, My Year of Meats, skewered the beef industry's PR efforts to promote its product in Japan and examined the health hazards of growth hormones. This time Ozeki again looks at food and PR, specifically the the genetic engineering of potatoes.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's has a new partnership with soft-drink giant Coca-Cola. The $1-million deal involves a research grant to the academy to "support important clinical, basic and behavioral research" and "create public and professional educational programs, based on science, that promote improved dental health for children." The AAPD told Reuters that Coca-Cola "will have no say-so" into the specifics of that research.
PR Watch has reported previously on the dietary supplement industry's successful campaign to evade federal safety regulations.
The Center for Consumer Freedom, a front group for the restaurant, alcohol and tobacco industries, has been forced to give up the domain names of two web sites used to attack the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), in what CSPI called an "Orwellian" effort to create confusion among Internet users looking for CSPI's websites.
According to a confidential report prepared by a consultant to the World Health Organization, the food industry has followed the example of the tobacco industry, infiltrating the WHO and exerting "undue influence" over policies intended to safeguard public health by limiting the amount of fat, sugar and salt we consume. "The easy movement of experts - toxicologists in particular - between private firms, universities, tobacco and food industries and international agencies creates the conditions for conflict of interest," says the report by Norbert Hirschhorn.
Responding to reports of rising vegetarianism among teenagers, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association "responded to the looming vegetarian crisis by launching a website, Cool 2B Real, in an attempt to link meat consumption with some degree of hipness. The site, which looks like a cross between a Barbie fan page and a Taco Bell ad (beef-filled tacos and gigantic hamburgers dot the screen), extols teenage girls to 'Keep it Real' - 'real' as in a person who eats beef, preferably three or four times a day.
"Edelman PR Worldwide and Dittus Communications have been tapped to spearhead PR and lobbying for the American Council for Fitness and Nutrition, a coalition of top food and beverage groups seeking to counter charges that the industry is at fault for a swelling obesity problem in the U.S.," O'Dwyer's PR Daily writes. "Formed earlier this year, the Council stresses that both physical activity and a proper diet are needed for a healthy lifestyle.
Wampler Foods, a unit of poultry producer Pilgrim's Pride, has hired Edelman PR Worldwide to help handle a recall crisis, according to O'Dwyer's PR. Over the weekend, Pilgrim's Pride recalled 27.4 million pounds of cooked sandwich meat, primarily sold under the Wampler brand. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have traced a deadly strain of listeria bacteria to a Pilgrim's Pride plant in Franconia, Pennsylvania. This is the largest meat recall in U.S. history.
"McTeacher's Night" has drawn criticism from some elementary school teachers in South San Francisco according to the San Francisco Chronicle. During the fast-food chain's PR event, teachers volunteer to work a three-hour shift at a McDonald's, preparing and serving food. Then the restaurant donates 20 percent of the profits to the teachers' school. "This is exploiting teachers for a real, live McDonald's commercial," one first-grade teacher told the Chronicle.
"U.S. food companies can seek federal approval to avoid using the word "irradiation" on labels of foods treated with the disease-killing process, and instead use language such as "cold pasteurization," the Food and Drug Administration said. ... The FDA issued guidelines explaining how companies can petition the agency to use more neutral language on the label of food treated with irradiation.