More coverage of the Coca-Cola/Global Energy Balance Network debacle (scooped by The Associated Press yesterday), courtesy of Anahad O’Connor at The New York Times:
- “Coca-Cola’s top scientist is stepping down after revelations that the beverage giant initiated a strategy of funding scientific research that played down the role of Coke products in the spread of obesity.”
- “Rhona S. Applebaum, Coke’s chief science and health officer, helped orchestrate the establishment of a nonprofit group known as the Global Energy Balance Network. The group’s members were university scientists who encouraged the public to focus on exercise and worry less about how calories from food and beverages contribute to obesity.”
- “Coca-Cola has said that while it offered financial support for the Global Energy Balance Network, the company had no influence on the group or the scientific research it produced. But reports show that Dr. Applebaum and other executives at Coke helped pick the group’s leaders, create its mission statement and design its website, findings first reported this week by The Associated Press.”
- “Michael F. Jacobson, the executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group, said it was concerning to see “how a major corporation is using a professor to propagate their views.”
- “Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University and the author of “Soda Politics,” said that when food and beverage companies pay for research, they do so to aid marketing efforts and to “silence critics.” Dr. Nestle added, “The Global Energy Balance Network has been a public relations disaster for Coca-Cola.”
Indeed. It appears industry front groups are starting to lose their sheen, after decades of manufacturing doubt and disparaging critics.