Food Multinationals Behind Attacks on Dr. Oz and Consumer Rights

Thursday, April 23, 2015

 

The front group of all front groups, the American Council on Science and Health, has not disclosed its donor list since the early 1990s.

However, there is plenty of solid evidence that giant food, beverage and chemical corporations have and continue to bankroll this organization and its attack on Americans’ right to know how their food is made.

Leaked documents published by the non-profit investigative news magazine Mother Jones show large contributions to ACSH from several companies that have also spent millions fighting state and federal efforts to label foods made with genetically engineered ingredients. In fact, last year alone, the food industry spent more than $63 million for lobbying and campaign contributions, much of it to support a bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) that critics call the DARK act. This bill would prevent states from enacting GMO labeling laws and would make it much harder for the federal Food and Drug Administration to implement federal labeling requirements.

Giant multinationals like PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, General Mills and Heinz have been among the largest benefactors of the ACSH. 

And last week, Dr. Gilbert Ross, the acting executive director of ACSH, Dr. Henry I. Miller, biotech hatchet-man and advisor to the group, and eight other signers released a letter that called on Columbia University Medical School to fire Dr. Mehmet Oz, largely over his support for labeling genetically engineered foods.

Here are some things you might not know. Ross was convicted in 1993 on federal racketeering, conspiracy and fraud charges for his part in an $8 million Medicaid scam targeting homeless men. He was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution of $85,137. New York State revoked his license to practice medicine. (He got it restored in 2004, with caveats.) An administrative law judge with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services barred him from participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs for 10 years on grounds that the evidence showed he was a “highly untrustworthy individual.”

Miller claimed that people exposed to lower levels of radiation after the Fukushima Daiichi reactor disaster “could have actually benefitted from it.”

These are the newest spokespeople for those companies against GMO labeling.

Obviously, it’s easy to focus on Ross, Miller and the others who signed the letter. They are colorful and contentious.

But that’s exactly what those food and chemical companies behind the attack on Dr. Oz want. 

Don’t.

The companies that fund ACSH are really pulling the levers. They deserve media and public scrutiny.

There is ample proof of just how beholden Ross, ACSH and its advisors are to some of the biggest corporations in the world.

A summary of the internal documents published by Mother Jones shows 2013 contributions to ACSH from these companies:

  • Coca-Cola: $50,000
  • Bayer CropScience: $30,000
  • McDonald’s: $30,000
  • Syngenta: $22,000

The documents also show a list of corporations that had supported ACSH in the past and that the group solicited for more money in 2013 to campaign against GMO labeling.  Those companies included General Mills, Heinz, Hershey, Hormel Foods and Kellogg.

The Center for Media and Democracy, a non-partisan watchdog group, lists a number of other food and beverage companies that have helped bankroll ACSH activities over the years. Among them: Pillsbury, Campbell’s Soup, Frito-Lay, Kraft and Oscar Mayer Foods.

Big food and beverage companies are fueling ASCH’s war, not only against Dr. Oz, but against Americans’ right to know what’s in our food.

 

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