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Who Let Pepsi Be an Expert on Healthy Eating for Kids?

posted by Nell Minow

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has a sobering blog post from Michele Simon about the latest F is for Fat release, an annual report from the Trust for Healthy Americans. The Trust describes itself as Trust “a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority.” Its board of directors is headed by former Senator Lowell Weicker and filled with medical professionals and public health experts. So how does PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi get two pages in the report for corporate PR about how Pepsi is going to play a part in promoting healthy eating? And, as Simon points out Pepsi says this:

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We firmly believe companies have a responsibility to provide consumers with more information and more choices so they can make better decisions… I believe the food industry can play a leading role in this area. In fact, we must play a leading role… It’s a challenge, but increasingly PepsiCo and other companies recognize and accept our responsibility to help our associates and consumers succeed.

while it pours hundreds of millions of dollars into fighting efforts to counter the effects of sugary, high-fat food products like those sold by Pepsi?

Harold Goldstein, executive director of the highly effective non-profit, California Center for Public Health Advocacy describes what Nooyi left out of her statement:

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She doesn’t mention the highly sophisticated multimillion dollar national marketing and lobbying campaign they have undertaken to promote themselves as good corporate citizens and undermine efforts to establish state and local policies to reduce consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, which have been the single leading contributor to the obesity epidemic.

The Trust for Healthy Americans should be calling for more accountability from the makers of sodas and snack foods, not giving them a place for vague platitudes masking actions that undermine the very efforts they claim to support.

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