With each passing week we learn more about the food industry’s deceptive tactics to spin information and mislead consumers.
Yesterday, the Union of Concerned Scientists‘ (UCS) Center for Science and Democracy released a must-read report titled “Added Sugar, Subtracted Science” which details how the sugar industry misinforms and deceives the public and undermines public health policy.
From The Union of Concerned Scientists:
“Through the use of many of the same tactics employed by the tobacco industry, sugar interests from all sectors have intentionally worked to deceive the public:
1) Attacking the science
* Planning to “bury the data” if the science is inconvenient
* Threatening to suspend funding to the World Health Organization
* Seeking to discredit scientific findings by intimidating the study authors
2) Spreading misinformation
* Featuring misinformation on industry websites
* Promoting misinformation through research institutes
* Using trade associations, front groups, and PR firms to deceive the public
3) Deploying industry scientists
* Exploiting science communication and blogging communities
* Failing to disclose scientists’ conflicts of interest
* Hijacking scientific language for product promotion
4) Influencing academia
* Buying credibility through academic scientists
* Funding research to support their preconceived positions
* Paying academic scientists to persuade other scientists of sugar interests’ positions
5) Undermining policy
* Pouring lobbying dollars into federal, state, and local sugar policy debates
* Supporting political candidates in influential positions
* Influencing rule making at federal agencies”
We highly recommend reading this report, as it perfectly illuminates the many ways in which industry — with the help of handsomely rewarded experts — spins data, deflects attention, and attacks its most vocal critics.
As you read the report, keep in mind that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has given the green light to the Corn Refiners Association — a trade association that is notorious for employing many of the tactics listed above — to teach dietitians about the topic of sweeteners. Conflict of interest, anyone?