Posts Tagged ‘Big Food’

How Restaurant Lobby Blocks Living Wage for Fast Food Workers

If you ask most Americans about the NRA, they will think of the National Rifle Association. But another powerful industry trade group bearing those initials, the National Restaurant Association, conducts its own campaign of duplicitous lobbying and outright deception at the expense of the public interest. Read rest at Al Jazeera America ….

 

Holding Big Food Accountable for False Claims of Responsible Marketing to Children

by Michele Simon and Cara Wilking

Looking back at 2013, while the food movement made progress in certain areas (such as school food and GMO labeling), when it comes to exploitative food marketing to children meaningful change remains elusive. Let’s Move director and White House chef Sam Kass recently acknowledged the obvious when he said this issue was “really tough” given how much money is at stake for industry.

All we seem to hear from the major food corporations about marketing to children are self-serving promises and announcements of future changes. As public health lawyers, that got us wondering, who’s making sure even these minimal commitments are being kept? The question is worth exploring if we want to actually improve children’s diets—not just create positive PR buzz for Big Food. With reports of adults ever-deteriorating eating habits in 2013 coupled with appalling teen heart health, the health stakes are too high to just wait for the food industry to do the right thing.

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Behind Closed Doors: Who’s Taking Meetings with FDA on Food Safety

FDA logo

When President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) into law in January 2011, it was considered a long-fought, but significant and bipartisan victory to update the Food and Drug Administration’s authority and oversight of the food supply. While much of the wrangling over the language of the law was made public, through media coverage of Congressional hearings for example, the ensuing industry influence over implementation of the law has been subject to far less public scrutiny (with the exception of FDA’s unlawful delay of FSMA’s critical implementing regulations, which Center for Food Safety has successfully sued over.

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How Low Can McDonald’s Go to Disrespect its Workers?

IFWW

It seems both ironic and fitting that while most Americans are obsessed with food for the Thanksgiving holiday, this week also marks International Food Workers Week, organized by the Food Chain Workers Alliance.

While many large restaurant chains and other sectors of the food industry bear responsibility for mistreating their workers, recently, McDonald’s has engaged in a series of jaw-dropping and idiotic communications with its workforce. Each one is a painful reminder of how impossible it is to live on fast-food wages.

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Industry’s Secret Plan to Get the Feds to Kill GMO Labeling in Every State

Internal documents from the Grocery Manufacturers Association reveal height of corporate chutzpah. Industry’s solution to GMO labeling is to: “Pursue statutory federal preemption which does not include a labeling requirement.”

With the disappointing results now in from I-522, the initiative in Washington State that would have required labeling of genetically-engineered food (aka GMOs), the looming question is, what’s next? At least for the junk food lobby, that answer in painfully clear: stop this state-level movement at any cost. In today’s New York Times, Stephanie Strom reports on the dirty details contained in industry documents that I obtained from the Washington State attorney general’s office in the wake of a lawsuit brought against the Grocery Manufacturers Association for illegally concealing donors to the No on 522 campaign.

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Media Coverage for Clowning Around with Charity Report

Clowning_Around_Charity_Report_CoverI am pleased to see so many media outlets take an interest in my recent report, produced in collaboration with Corporate Accountability International and the Small Planet Fund.  Below is a round-up of the coverage so far.

USA Today: McDonald’s slammed over Ronald McDonald House giving. Also published in:

-       Democrat and Chronicle
-       Tucson Citizen
-       THV 11
-       The Indianapolis Star
-       Green Bay Press Gazette
-       Courier-journal.com
-       Livingston Daily
-       Courier Post Online
-       Wausau Daily Herald
-       Wisconsin In a Rapids Tribune
-       Ithaca Journal
-       Lohud.com
-       Press Connects
-       UTNE Alt Wire
-       Daily Tribune
-       Journal News
-       Press & Sun Bulletin
-       The Post-Crescent
-       Fort Myers News-Press

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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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Is McDonald’s Kid-Themed Business Model Obsolete?

Last month, as USA Today described it, “Taco Bell will shock the fast-food industry on Tuesday by announcing plans to drop kids meals and toys at all of its U.S. restaurants.” CEO Greg Creed told the paper: “The future of Taco Bell is not about kids meals. This is about positioning the brand for Millennials.” Some were skeptical about the announcement, given that kids meals only represent half of one percent of Taco Bell’s overall sales. While increasing pressures on the fast food industry to stop marketing to children wasn’t the main reason for the change, it’s still a significant development.

Read rest at Corporate Accountability International.

All Eyes on Washington State for GE Food Labeling

Yes on 522

While the food movement has been gaining steam in recent years, tangible policy wins have been sparse due to by powerful industry lobbying. One significant victory that appears within reach is the labeling of genetically engineered foods. The narrow loss last fall of Proposition 37 in California has inspired 26 other states to propose similar measures, including Washington, the only state with a ballot measure in November’s election.

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Media Coverage of Report: And Now a Word From Our Sponsors

In January, I released a report called, And Now a Word from Our Sponsors: Are America’s Nutrition Professionals in the Pocket of Big Food? The report continues to receive media attention, in part due to a Change.org petition asking the Academy to clean up its act. Be sure to sign on. Also, please support Dietitians for Professional Integrity, a new group of dedicated registered dietitians working to change the Academy’s sponsorship policies.

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Contact Michele Simon: michele@eatdrinkpolitics.com

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