Coca-Cola has hired the lobbying firm Holland & Knight to ward off Federal restrictions on vending machines in schools, reports O'Dwyer's PR Daily. Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy has introduced a bill that would prohibit schools participating in the national school lunch program from selling soda and candy. Leahy was critical of soda manufacturers for pushing their products at children in a "captive market." He also cited a study linking soda consumption to child obesity and diabetes.
Last year Michael Jacobson's Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI, also known as "the food police") received $200,000 from the pro-biotechnology Rockefeller Foundation to be a moderate voice in the raging debate over genetically engineered (GE) foods. CSPI has since made many statements very favorable to GE foods and recently called for government action against companies marketing non-GE foods. Ironically, CSPI's Integrity in Science Project criticizes and reveals the special interest funding and agendas of other nonprofit organizations.
Is organic agriculture more risky than industrial agriculture, as a series of news stories have claimed in recent years? The UK-based Soil Association has compiled a report showing how this claim is based on bogus research and other false claims stemming primarily from industry-funded think tanks. Another group, the Norwalk Genetic Information Network, has also compiled its own online report on the organic-bashers.
The tobacco, booze and food industry lobbyists at Rick Berman's Guest Choice Network usually castigate Michael Jacobson's Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) as the dreaded "food police" when it comes to fat and sugar in the diet. But they are loving CSPI's promotion of genetically engineered food.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to Florida optometrist Keith Finger warning him to not eat StarLink genetically modified corn during his presentation at a hearing on the matter. The agency said it couldn't "be responsible for ensuring your safety," citing concern that Dr. Finger might have an allergic reaction to something other than StarLink. Last month the EPA declared that StarLink corn didn't cause allergic reactions in test subjects.
Lobbyist Rick Berman runs the DC-based Guest Choice Network, a mean and nasty PR operation serving the tobacco, booze and food industries. (See PR Watch Volume 8 #1 for the inside scoop on Berman & Co.) His favorite target is often Michael Jacobson's "food police" at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
The food industry used an absurdly contrived "experiment" to prove that parents should let their kids eat junk foods in a study published in the June 1999 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The food-industry researchers taunted preschoolers by displaying an item of junk food while forbidding them to eat it. After five days of this treatment, they found, the kids' desire for the food item had increased.