Archive for October, 2013

Clowning Around with Charity: How McDonald’s Exploits Philanthropy and Targets Children

New report from Eat Drink Politics exposes McDonald’s charitable activity as a marketing tool to deflect critics

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Pop quiz: Who do you think funds the hundreds of Ronald McDonald Houses around the nation? McDonald’s right? Sort of, but not really. While McDonald’s gets 100 percent of the brand benefit from Ronald McDonald House Charities, the burger giant only provides about 20 percent of its funding globally. At the local level, it’s closer to ten percent, with some of that money coming from donation boxes at McDonald’s outlets, that is, from customers.

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Junk Food Lobby Forced to Disclose Donors to its Secret “Defense of Brand Strategic Account”

“This is the largest amount of money ever concealed in an election,” says Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, as tobacco-style tactics by likes of PepsiCo and Nestle are revealed in Washington State’s lawsuit against the Grocery Manufacturers Association over GMO labeling fight.

Just a few weeks ago, attorneys for the No on 522 campaign were feeling rather smug when a lawsuit filed against them by a group called “Moms for Labeling” was dismissed. As I wrote last week, consumer class action attorney Knoll Lowney sued the No on 522 and the Washington DC-based Grocery Manufactures Association (lobbyists for major food corporations) for not disclosing the donors behind GMA’s $7 million-plus donation to stop I-522, which would require genetically-engineered foods to be labeled. The judge threw out that case on a technicality.

But then, Big Food’s arrogance got the best of them.

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Naming Names: PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Nestlé Donate Millions to Stop GMO Labeling

Attorney General Forces Junk Food Lobby to Obey Washington State Law and Disclose Donors to No on 522

Earlier this week, the Washington State attorney general sued the Grocery Manufacturers Association for violating lobbying disclosure laws by hiding the identity of its individual members making donations. Today, GMA waved the white flag. Here are the donors and how much they are spending to keep consumers in the dark. Stay tuned for more.

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Junk Food Lobbyists Sued for Money Laundering in Washington State

Effort to Hide Brand-Name Corporations Opposing GE Food Labeling Lands in Court

October 16 update: The Washington State attorney general’s office has filed a lawsuit against the Grocery Manufacturers Association, saying the trade group “illegally collected and spent more than $7 million while shielding the identity of its contributors” to the No on 522 campaign, in violation of state disclose laws. Read the complaint here.

In the final weeks leading up to Election Day, the debate over measure I-522 in Washington State is getting even uglier. As I recently explained, the Grocery Manufacturer Association, the nation’s largest trade group for the processed food industry, has been flexing its muscle to oppose the labeling of genetically-engineered food, both at the federal and state levels. Now, a lawsuit brought by a non-profit called “Moms for Labeling” alleges that GMA crossed the line by not properly disclosing who is behind the whopping $7 million-plus the trade group has donated to the No on 522 campaign so far.

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Ask a Food Lawyer – Helping Food Entrepreneurs Navigate the Law

Interview with Jason Foscolo, Food Law Firm

Continuing with our interview series for Ask a Food Lawyer, this week we spoke with Jason Foscolo, who provides legal counsel to food entrepreneurs throughout of the supply chain. Before starting his own firm, he was a Judge Advocate in the Marine Corps where he discovered his passion for food production and preparation. Jason completed the University of Arkansas School of Law LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law in 2011 prior to starting his practice in New York State. Check out his work at foodlawfirm.com and follow Jason on Twitter @foodlawattorney.

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Super-Sized Lies: Why You Can’t Trust Promises by McDonald’s

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McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson, former President Bill Clinton, and Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Dr. Howell Wechsler.

The headlines certainly sounded impressive: “McDonald’s to Scrap Soda From ‘Happy Meal’ Ads” and “McDonald’s Ditches Soda In Happy Meal Menus.” In a grandiose announcement from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (an offshoot of the Clinton Foundation), McDonald’s proved once again that it’s not only the world’s fast-food leader, but also the king of spin. This time, Bill Clinton himself was on hand for the nifty photo op with McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting. Despite the seal of approval from the (mostly vegan) former president, I’ve learned to approach these sorts promises from McDonald’s with skepticism.

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Save the Food Stamp Program by Reforming It

With each attempt to pass the 2012 farm bill (yes, it has been that long), congressional Republicans keep ratcheting up their cruelty to poor Americans. While last year’s bill would have cut $16 billion to food stamps, the House of Representatives has now proposed an astonishing $39 billion reduction in benefits over 10 years. While many media pundits are outraged, and rightly so, missing from the national conversation are important questions about the effectiveness of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the federal food assistance plan formerly known as food stamps. Read rest at Al Jazeera America …

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