Independent nutritional associations, such as the California Dietetic Association (CDA) and International Food Information Council, increasingly rely on funding from companies whose business interests often run counter to the public good. The latest instance of this irony occurred at the CDA’s annual conference which was catered by McDonald’s and received free food samples from companies like Hersey’s, Butter Buds, and the California Beef Council. One panel, organized and paid for by the Corn Refiners Association, sang the praises of high-fructose corn syrup.
What’s the Big Idea?
Cash-strapped nutritional organizations have steadily increased the extent to which their views are influenced by large food companies from PepsiCo, Domino’s Pizza, Nestlé, and so on. The conferences they sponsor are often attended by graduate students and mid-carreer professionals–typically in the fields of education and medicine–who arrive to earn college or continuing-education credits. These credits are intended to keep the nation’s professionals up to date with the latest developments in their fields, but can sometimes turn them into a captive audience for corporate propaganda.