Everyone on planet Earth needs food to survive, but people need to eat healthy foods to thrive. Many food companies have counteracted against government-issued dietary warnings for decades. In an article by alternet.org, an email chain published by the Agriculture and Health and Human Services Department revealed several tactics that food companies used to avoid negative research about the foods they produced. The exchanged was between Michael Ernest Knowles, former vice president of Global Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at Coca-Cola, and Alex Malaspina, a former Coca-Cola executive
One tactic that food companies used is creating their own studies. In the email exchange, Knowles said: “We have to use external organizations in addition to any work we directly commission.”
By funding their own research, the food industry could downplay the effects of their food on consumers health or shift the blame to another product altogether. Their findings are often advertised to overshadow government issued research.
Here in Sacramento, there have been government efforts to help public school students avoid eating junk foods. The Sacramento City Unified School District recently passed a new “Wellness Policy” to regulate what the students eat while at school. The SCUSD Board of Trustees unanimously voted yes on the policy. The aim
of the policy is to help students eat healthily and to curb obesity rates.
“We passed the wellness policy 3 months ago,” said Michael Minnick, Board Member for District 4 Of the Sacramento Unified School District. “We want to make sure that, at least on the school campuses, [the students] are eating healthy. We are also currently in the process of building a new central kitchen. Since we are a farm-to-fork community, we can bring in fresh food to our students.”
The food industry is a powerful force with many resources. To help people, sometimes the government has to step and regulate what the people eat. Sometimes, business and government works together, but when they do not, it is an ongoing war for dominance.