PR Watch has reported in the past on the story of Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, two former investigative reporters at Fox TV's affiliate station in Tampa Bay, Florida who say the network ordered them to broadcast false and distorted news reports regarding the Monsanto company's genetically-engineered bovine growth hormone.
An alarming, but not surprising, investigation in today's Vancouver Sun illustrates why the mad cow feed rules in both Canada and the US are completely inadequate.
The paper reports that "secret tests on cattle feed conducted by a federal agency earlier this year found more than half contained animal parts not listed in the ingredients, according to internal documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun. The test results raise questions about whether rules banning the feeding of cattle remains to other cattle -- the primary way in which mad cow disease is spread -- are being routinely violated. ... Controlled experiments have shown an animal needs to consume as little as one milligram -- about the size of a grain of sand -- of material contaminated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to develop the brain-wasting disease."
The debate around genetically modified organisms "is fragmenting global food markets and putting political pressure on food exporters to choose between producing natural" or GMO crops. As "big biotech companies ... are looking for growth opportunities in Asia to compensate for the problems they have encountered in European markets," Thailand developed "a seven-year plan to ... [become] a regional biotech hub." The Thai government "commissioned a team of U.S.
At a conference on sugar and other sweeteners, medicine and epidemiology professor Adam Drewnowski challenged the World Health Organization's characterization of soft drinks as "energy-dense foods." He said that soft drinks' "high water content gives them the energy density of fresh carrots." Oldways Preservation & Exchange Trust, a think tank on food issues, organized the conference, which was sponsored by Coca-Cola's
"Food industry lobbyists met privately with Bush administration officials 10 times while the government was crafting rules to protect the food supply from bioterrorism." The Center for Science in the Public Interest stated, "The result is regulations that the industry likes, but that don't fully protect the public interest." The Grocery Manufacturers of America, Altria Group and others lobbied to weaken propos
"The Oldways Preservation Trust, which earlier this year held a conference in Italy to promote pasta, is organizing another journalists' confab, this time to discuss the virtues of sugar," PR Week reports. "The trust ... has secured the Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness, a Coca-Cola affiliated organization, as a sponsor for its Conference on Sweetness and Health in Mexico City. ...
"Years ago, the environmental movement coined the term "greenwashing" to describe how corporations use public relations to make themselves appear environmentally friendly. Now, nutrition advocates need their own moniker for a similar trend among major food companies - call it 'nutri-washing,'" writes Michele Simon, a public health lawyer and director of the Center for Informed Food Choices.
The media giants have taken interest in America's obesity epidemic - recently sponsoring a three-day conference - but the food industry appears to be calling the shots when it comes to dealing with the issue. "What I found most striking at the [Time/ABC News Obesity Summit] was the utter lack of leadership from our federal government officials," writes Center for Informed Food Choice's Michele Simon.