Nutrition Action Healthletter
October 2000 — U.S. Edition 
News from CSPI

Michael Jacobson
  Follow the Money

What happens when nutrition meets money? Consider:

1. When the Center for Science in the Public Interest (Nutrition Action’s publisher) attacked the over-consumption of soft drinks and refined sugars, the Georgetown University Center for Food and Nutrition Policy publicized pseudo-studies defending those foods.

2. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) publishes “Nutrition Fact Sheets” that defend fast foods, the fake fat olestra, and starch-filled baby foods. And it published a position paper that gave sugar a clean bill of health.

3. The prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association published a study concluding that salt doesn’t raise blood pressure.

Here’s what’s really going on:

1. The Georgetown group that defended soft drinks and sugar has a “partnership” with the Grocery Manufacturers of America and has received grants from the Sugar Association.

2. The ADA’s fact sheets on eating out, olestra, and baby foods acknowledge that they were underwritten by McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, and Gerber. And one of the co-authors of its paper exonerating sugar was a scientific advisor to the Canadian Sugar Institute.

3. The study absolving salt was financed by the Campbell Institute for Research and Technology. (Campbell makes some of the saltiest soups on the planet.)

   More and more “independent” professional organizations, researchers, and “consumer” groups receive funding from industry, something many fail to disclose when they talk to journalists.

   Examples are legion. The American Council on Science and Health, which bills itself as a “nonprofit consumer education organization,” has been funded in large part by PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Dow, Exxon, and other corporations. The objective-sounding International Life Sciences Institute and the International Food Information Council are funded by big food companies.

    To counteract industry’s hidden influence, CSPI has created the Integrity in Science project, which will expose conflicts of interest and encourage journalists to disclose industry funding of research and organizations.

   Our goal is to pry industry’s thumb off the scale by letting consumers, reporters, and policy-makers know about potential biases. 

Michael F. Jacobson
Executive Director
Center for Science in the Public Interest


Nutrition Action Healthletter Subscribe Today! Customer Service