Food companies are using similar tactics from the the tobacco industry to continue sell their unhealthy products to unsuspecting consumers.
Civil Eats reported that Dr. Cristen Kearns, dentist, went to a conference on link between gum disease and diabetes in 2007 and confronted a presenter who told her there was no link between sugar and disease. This empowered Kearns to dig into the connection between sugar and health and what was produced was a database, UCSF Food Industry Documents archive, which opened earlier this month.
In 1954, Robert Hockett, head of research at the Sugar Research Foundation teamed up with universities that would conduct research on their behalf to show no correlation to sugar and disease. This tactic proved to be a winning choice to produce the results they wanted and keep selling their products to the public.
Via Civil Eats,
Decades later, in the 1980s, Philip Morris kicked off a trend of tobacco companies acquiring food and beverage companies. A close look at food companies that were purchased by tobacco companies found a “systematic transfer of people, knowledge, information, and technology from tobacco to the sugar and beverage companies,” says Kim Hanh Nguyen, a UCSF health policy researcher who has used the archives to unpack collaborations between the two industries. A document Nguyen found in the UCSF archives explained why this was a good strategy, she said at the launch event: “People can quit smoking or drinking, but not eating.”
If consumers want healthier options, it is important to fight for transparency so these companies that work with politicians, lobbyists, non-profits, scientists and researchers behind the scenes to sway public opinion can no longer use tactics to hurt consumer health.
All food companies should be transparent about their ideological and political ties so consumers can decide for themselves what is best for their lives.