There have been plenty of rumors surrounding big food companies and many of them are considering damaging for our health. However, things may be more serious than we believed. A series of emails exchanged between an industry-fronted food organization and former Coca-Cola executives revealed some worrisome details.
The tactics used by major companies
The email thread involved Coca-Cola’s Michael Ernest Knowles and Alex Malaspina, as well as the International Life Sciences Institute. The first message was sent by the International Food Information Council Foundation and it was their reaction to the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
IFIC initiated a conference call with other food experts and they disagreed when it came to the recommendations made. “This IFIC media call is a great example of how the industry should respond to biased, non-scientifically based recommendations,” one email said. “It’s after the event of course but will no doubt be successful in ensuring that they do not get adopted as written.”
In one statement, an IFIC spokesperson wrote that they try to discredit the information. “When we critique a study or a nutrition claim for not being evidence-based, we do it transparently and the work is done by credentialed experts,” he added.
The methods of the food industry
Based on these emails, a paper co-authored by Ruskin identified the “techniques” used by this industry. Sadly, the methods used are not exactly fair, and they can be damaging to the consumers.
For example, the industry works with the scientific organization, and representatives are urged to obtain “leadership roles in the key ones and push for individual issues to be addressed by public conferences/workshops.” Additionally, they attempt to work with policymakers and they discredit existent data by creating new studies commissioned by them.