Posts Tagged ‘public relations’

Big Food defies first lady with own nutrition label

Last week, with an assist from first lady Michelle Obama, the Food and Drug Administration announced a set of proposed improvements — the first in 20 years — to the nutrition facts label found on most food packages. Read rest at Al Jazeera America …

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

Bill Clinton McDonalds

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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Big Reality Check on Big Food’s Claims on Reducing Calories

In what is becoming an all too familiar sight, the major food corporations recently teamed up with the First Lady’s Partnership for a Healthier America to announce their latest PR attempt to look like they are helping Americans eat healthier. A group calling itself the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, led by the CEO of PepsiCo–the nation’s largest junk food and sugary beverage pusher–claims to have delivered on its promise made in 2010 (a commitment, get it?) to reduce calories “in the marketplace” by 1.5 trillion. They further claim to have exceeded this goal, and all this a full three years ahead of schedule. The quotes by all involved were practically giddy.

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Best Public Relations Money Can Buy – A Guide to Food Industry Front Groups

Last month, the International Food Information Council Foundation released the third edition of its report: Food Biotechnology: A Communicator’s Guide to Improving Understanding. What sounds like a reasonable and helpful document is in fact the product of a well-oiled PR machine whose board of trustees includes executives from such food giants such as Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, and Mars. In response to such tactics, I have authored a new report for Center for Food Safety that exposes the well-funded organizations and highly-sophisticated public relations strategies increasingly deployed to defend the food industry. Read rest at Center for Food Safety…

 

VegNews Editor Attempts to Rewrite History

It’s fair to say that the vegetarian world gave me my start. In 1996, I began volunteering with various groups to promote plant-based eating. I soon discovered Marion Nestle’s work on the politics of the meat and dairy industries and I was hooked. In the early years of doing this work I made numerous friends in the San Francisco area who I still remain close to today. Something about a shared bond over food choices and values that makes for lasting friendships. So it’s with a heavy heart that I write this unusual post, to expose an injustice being done to one of those dear friends: Colleen Holland.

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Retailer Just Says No to Exploiting Children

MOM's Organic Market bans products targeting children

Sign at Mom’s Organic Market

As the frequent bearer of bad news about the food industry, I am thrilled to share a positive story. Last month, MOM’s Organic Market, a small retail chain based in the Baltimore area, announced it would stop carrying products featuring children’s cartoon characters:

Products ranging from Dora the Explorer frozen soybeans to Elmo juice boxes will be discontinued and replaced with organic alternatives in cartoon-free packaging.

Company CEO Scott Nash blogged last August about how his young daughter begged for a cereal she never tasted because of “Clifford the Big Red Dog” on the box, putting the store’s policy into motion. The company sent me this list of discontinued items, which includes numerous Earth’s Best products, along with a few other natural food companies.

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Is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Silencing its Members Who Object to McDonald’s Sponsoring Lunch?

2/28 Postscript: In happy news, Tara Marino reports that after an exchange with Lauren Fox (social media manager for AND), she will be reinstated. Fox claimed that Marino’s comments were not the reason for her removal but rather AND was deleting all non-members of the Academy. Marino provided her member number, which cleared things up. However, still no word back from the California affiliate.

I received the following email from registered dietitian Tara Marino who says she was recently “deleted” from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics LinkedIn group after expressing support for my report on the organization’s questionable corporate sponsors. (See previous post on a similar silencing attempt.)

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Addressing Alleged “Inaccuracies” of the ‘And Now a Word from Our Sponsors’ Report

In the first few days after my report on the conflicted corporate sponsorship of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Academy’s response was to make vague accusations about “factual inaccuracies” contained in my report. After I complained about AND’s failure to be specific, they posted this list entitled, “Addressing Inaccuracies of the ‘And Now a Word from Our Sponsors’ Report.” It sure looks impressive, with 14 items I supposedly got wrong. However, upon closer inspection, it’s just more of the same public relations spin from a desperate organization.

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Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Controlling Responses to My Report

A colleague sent me the following email message that went out to members of the Missouri Dietetics Association (MDA). I think it pretty much speaks for itself. See note at the end, which includes: “Do not reply to this message, as this is not a discussion forum.” Obviously not. Continue reading →

More Shooting the Messenger from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

A friend sent me the below email response, sent to a colleague of his who inquired about my recent report on corporate sponsorship of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the nation’s trade group for registered dietitians. It contains many similar misdirects and insults, as opposed to addressing the issue at hand. Just more evidence the organization’s leadership is tone-deaf to its own members‘ concerns.

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