Food companies funnel lobbying dollars into dietary guidelines fight
- Coca-Cola Co., food industry, and farm groups spent $15.3 million on lobbying associated with the federal dietary guidelines currently under debate and other issues in the quarter running April to June 2015. That spending is compared to the $1.1 million spent by groups supporting the guidelines, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Heart Association.
- According to federal records, the food and farming industries — plus Coca-Cola Co. — made up 85% of the entities voicing their opinions about the guidelines in that quarter, with health and environmental groups filling the remaining percent.
- The main guidelines targeted by food industry lobbyists are the recommendations to cut back on sugars and meats, particularly red meats, as well as why lean meat consumption was relegated to a footnote instead of being incorporated as a main component of a healthy diet.
What the meat industry fears is a component of an expected report about red meat from the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) — that IARC could link red meat to cancer. If the industry is already spending millions of dollars of lobbying power now, that number could increase significantly.
The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) has already tried to discredit the DGAC's recommendations in the comments NAMI submitted to the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) in May. In the comments, NAMI questioned the DGAC's methods for evaluating red meat research, as the agency's recommendations appear to go against its own research that once supported red meat as part the Mediterranean diet, which it deemed to be healthy, according to a NAMI press release.