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Coca-Cola Is Paying Dietitians to Tweet Scare Stories About Soda Taxes

In a renewed effort to convince people that their sugary soda is fine to drink, and that a tax on it would be detrimental to consumers, Coca-Cola has been outed for hiring dietitians and front organizations to Tweet their cause, boingboing.net reports.

Disturbing as this is, I’m not surprised, as it follows on the heels of the resignation of Barbara Bowman, former director of the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, who left two days after it was revealed that she aided a Coca-Cola representative in efforts to influence World Health Organization (WHO) officials to relax recommendations on sugar limits.

Bowman, however, wasn’t the only CDC official looking out for Coca-Cola. Uncovered emails suggest that Dr. Michael Pratt, senior adviser for Global Health in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the CDC, has promoted and led research for the soda giant. At issue are Pratt’s ties to the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), which is a nonprofit front group founded by Coke to serve the interests of the food and beverage industries.

This kind of political maneuvering and back scratching is covered at length in a book written by Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health whom I interviewed last year. If you’re interested in learning more about how the soda industry infiltrates communities to increase soda sales and protect its profits, I wholeheartedly recommend picking up a copy of her book, “Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (And Winning).”
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