Food Safety

The Fishy Funder That Almost Got Away

In October 2005 the American Journal of Preventive Medicine published an article by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis assessing the relative risks and benefits of changes in fish consumption. The U.S.

Fish Story

Washington, DC lobbyist Rick Berman must have a new client. Recently his front group, the Center for Consumer Freedom, launched a new website called along with a multimedia PR blitz including billboard and radio ads decrying the "hype" about health hazards of mercury in fish.

Ruder Finn Lands Heavy Metal PR Job

The PR firm Ruder Finn has landed an account with the U.S. Tuna Foundation to counter public concerns about mercury in canned tuna.

What Studies? Oh, Those Studies!

"DuPont Co. hid studies showing the risks of a Teflon-related chemical used to line candy wrappers, pizza boxes, microwave popcorn bags and hundreds of other food containers," according to a former employee and leaked company documents.

Chocolate as Health Food

Mars Inc., the candy company that makes Snickers bars, M&Ms and Dove chocolates, used to spend $1 million per year subsidizing a newsletter which claimed that eating chocolate could prevent cavities. Now it is funding research that says chocolate is good for your heart.

Government Abandons Children to Big Food

"With rising rates of childhood obesity and diabetes, you might think that when the federal government convenes a meeting on how food companies market food to kids, talk of how to regulate industry practices might actually be on the agenda. But you'd be wrong," writes Michele Simon. Last week's government conference on food marketing to kids was dominated by the companies themselves.

Oprah Not "The Only Mad Cow In America," Thanks to Texas Governor Perry

A popular Texas bumper sticker reads: "The only mad cow in America is Oprah." Not anymore, after the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced that the first confirmed home-grown case of mad cow is a Texas beef cow.

As Sheldon Rampton and I report in Mad Cow USA, the United States failed to take the measures necessary to stop the spread of the fatal dementia dubbed mad cow disease. However, a successful PR campaign by industry and government has, to this day, fooled most of the press and the public into believing that all necessary steps were taken long ago. A major part of the effort to spin and intimidate media coverage involved suing Oprah Winfrey under the Texas Food Disparagement Act, after her 1996 program examining mad cow risks in America.

The Junk Food Lobby Wins Again

Last week, Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell vetoed "what would have been the nation's strongest school-based nutrition law," writes Michele Simon. "With one stroke of the pen, she put to rest an extremely contentious three-year battle to rid Connecticut schools of soda and junk food. Similar scenarios are being played out in state capitals all over the nation, where high-paid lobbyists of multi-national corporations such as Coca-Cola are swooping in to foil the efforts of local nutrition advocates, educators.

Have You Herd?

The Wall Street Journal obtained a memo showing that, "five months after Canada disclosed its first case of mad-cow disease in May 2003, a U.S. Agriculture Department agency made unpublicized policy changes that helped the U.S.

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