Counterpunch- Aug 24,2018
Big Food is increasingly targeting poor countries as “emerging markets” to please Wall Street and shareholders––perhaps because getting people fat and hooked on junk food in rich countries has plateaued.
“The single largest donor to congressional candidates was the Brazilian meat giant JBS, which gave candidates $112 million in 2014,” reports the Times about Big Food’s influence in Brazil. (JBS acquired Swift & Company, the third largest US beef and pork processor, in 2007 and slaughters an astounding 51.4 thousand head per day.) In 2014, Coca-Cola gave $6.5 million in campaign contributions in Brazil and McDonald’s donated $561,000.
A few years ago, Reuters reported that the World Health Organization’s Pan American Health Organization takes hundreds of thousands of dollars and “obesity” advice from junk food and soft drink companies. No wonder the advice stresses “exercise” and gives aggressive marketing to children a pass. Was anyone surprised when Coke became Mexico’s top-selling soft drink under its former president and chief executive who was also Mexico’s president, VicenteFox?
Coca-Cola has bought itself a huge economic footprint. It provides funding to the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the American College of Cardiology, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Harvard Medical School/Partners in Health. It donates to major universities, recreation and fitness groups and organizations serving ethnic and minority groups whose members are especially challenged with obesity.
In the 2014 movie “Fed Up” Katie Couric exposed how the US government admonishes people to eat right, while pushing the foods that make them fat, and how school lunchrooms have also been bought by Big Food. The film reveals how the egg, sugar and other Big Food industries revised guidelines generated from the 1977 McGovern Report that recommended people eat less foods high in fat and sugar to favor them, overruling Sen. McGovern.
In 2006, a similar Big Food triumph occurred. Faced with the United Nations’ WHO food recommendations that were similar to the McGovern Report, then Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tommy G. Thompson actually flew to Geneva to threaten WHO that if the guidelines stood, the US would withdraw its WHO financial support. Yes––supporting agriculture is more important to the US government than the health of its people.