Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Food industry has a responsibility to protect the health of its consumers by manufacturing healthy products because of the confidence and trust they receive from them unreservedly. Unfortunately this trust is being systematically undermined by practices considered unethical and hostile to consumer interests, at least by a major segment of the industry during the last three decades.  Safety authorities are increasingly being forced to bring in mandatory steps to discipline this industry which seems to be more focused on making easy money at the expense of the consumer. The enormous "money clout" and political patronage from the elected representatives make them immune to any penal action and corrective efforts by the government. The result is massive health crisis that is happening in countries like America where obesity and over weight people make up more than 50% of the population! Scientific data regarding adverse consequences of food additives are systematically suppressed and food standards are diluted through nexus with safety authorities. Now comes the news that American food industry controlled by a few monopolistic giant players have infiltrated into professional organizations for influencing technical decisions by scientists and generate industry friendly data. Here is a take on this unfortunate trend which needs to curbed at any cost 

"Instead of joining the fight against the obesity and diabetes epidemics, the food industry—Big Food—persistently pushes favorable legislation in Congress through aggressive and, more often than not, successful lobbying, as the recent "Monsanto Protection Act" proved. As if this were not enough, Big Food companies such as Coca-Cola, Kraft and Hershey's seem to have also basically taken over the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the largest organization of dietitians and nutritionists in the country. And this is without even mentioning that research has led these companies to learn how to manipulate people's tastes and habits. Public health attorney Michele Simon talks about this in "And now a word from our sponsors: Are America's nutrition professionals in the pocket of Big Food?"—a report that questions the ethics of the Academy's acceptance of such sponsorship. "The food industry's deep infiltration of the nation's top nutrition organization raises serious questionsnot only about that profession's credibility, but also about its policy positions," says Simon in the report's summary. Simon's reports that in the past 10 years there has been more than a three-fold increase in sponsorships from the Big Food industry. One of the most loyal AND's sponsor is the National Cattleman's Beef Association, followed by ConAgra, General Mills, Kellogg's and the National Dairy Council. Coca-Cola, Kraft and PesiCo come in next. If it were just because the Academy needs the funds to do its educational outreach, all this might be understandable. But has AND at least established some guidelines about the messages broadcast by the companies to their own people? It doesn't seem so. Paradoxically, the Academy represents itself as an advocate for Eating Right (their public campaign's brand), calling people to make informed choices and to develop sound eating and physical activity habits". 

What will happen to the consumers in the US if this trend continues unabated with many scientists in the pockets of the industry? Are their lives going to be more and more uncertain with practically no choice regarding what they want to eat? Who is to be believed and who are their real friends and protectors? The scientific community as a whole must be ashamed of themselves for this unholy alliance with this dubious industry! Where will the common man go in search of truth? Is a time coming for the consumer to be self reliant in terms of food safety by shunning the processed foods and in stead go back to their kitchens to make their own foods, preferably with organic food raw materials? May be yes.  


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