Tuesday, October 09, 2012

How Can the American Academy of Pediatrics and Other Public Health Groups Continue to Partner with Coca-Cola and Pepsi?

Today, the Rest of the Story is questioning how the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Dietetic Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, and American Diabetes Association can continue their corporate partnerships with the Coca-Cola Company and/or PepsiCo after it was revealed that these companies are spending millions of dollars to defeat a California ballot initiative -Proposition 37 - that would simply require labeling of genetically modified foods so that consumers could make an informed choice about what they want to eat.

Apparently, the Coca-Cola Company has spent $1.2 million to defeat the measure and PepsiCo has spent $1.7 million. In opposing this simple "right-to-know" measure, these partners of the AAP, ADA, and AAFP are joining their other friends in the Big Food and Big Chemicals industry, including Monsant, Dupont, Dow Chemical, BASF, Nestle, and ConAgra.

Thus, Coke and Pepsi have joined other corporations that are in Corporate Accountability International's corporate Hall of Shame to oppose this basic public health information initiative.

According to an article at Current TV, pesticide and junk food companies are spending $35 million to flood the airwaves with lies and deception about the ballot initiative. And "the No on 37 campaign's already tattered credibility was dealt yet another big blow with news that its "top scientist" is nothing more than a corporate shill willing to misrepresent himself and the University for which he works."

According to the article: "Henry Miller - a spokesperson the No on 37 campaign has been all too eager to promote as an arbiter of good science and someone we can trust with our families health. Miller has been featured in No on 37 television ads, written outrageously deceptive opinion editorials, and has presented himself as an "unbiased" scientific expert. And now he's been caught misrepresenting Stanford University- forcing the No on 37 Campaign to pull and reshoot a statewide television ad identifying Miller as "Dr. Henry Miller, MD, Stanford University," without disclosing his affiliation with the Hoover Institute, a right-wing think tank at the University. In other words, he works ON the Stanford campus as a corporate propagandist, but ISN'T a Professor at Stanford University. The ad was pulled after the Yes on 37 campaign attorney sent a letter to Stanford pointing out that the university's affiliation was being used in a political advertising campaign, in violation of university policy. Stanford also demanded that the campaign remove the campus from the ad's background."

Thus, the Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo are a part of this shameful, deceptive campaign designed to undermine the protection of the public's health via the least intrusive available measure: simple information.

The Rest of the Story

The hypocrisy of the two major soft drink companies in opposing this initiative is difficult to believe. It was best summarized by Yes on 37 supporter Alex Bogusky in a recent Advertising Age article, in which he points out: 

"It's ironic that these same companies are suggesting that consumers have a right to choose as they fight Bloomberg in New York, but then turn around and fund the effort to keep consumers in the dark on GMOs. I guess they only support your right to choose when they're certain that you'll make the choice that they want you to make."

Although the No on 37 corporations have outspent the public health advocates supporting this measure by approximately $33 million to just $4 million, California voters will certainly approve this simple right-to-know law that supports consumer choice and autonomy. Sadly, not only will the Big Food and chemical companies be going down, but the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Dietetic Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, and American Diabetes Association will be going down with them.

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