How Covert Communications Shape Food Policy by Spinning Food and “Healthwashing” Through Social Media
How do we know if our food is safe? How are the chemicals used to produce our food impacting our health and the environment? How can journalists reporting on these issues know when their sources are accurate? Here’s a great free report you should read to get the truth about the foods you eat. You need to understand this because as this video demonstrates, all the big food companies (like Coke in the video) are getting good at spinning food.
[Bottom Line:] It all comes down to the big corporate numbers and they are certainly driven by following this equation:
Big Biotech + Big Spin = $Big Profits$
Many Companies Play the Healthwashing Game and are Experts at Spinning Food
Coke and the other biotech sugar bomb pros are not the only offenders here. Companies like Monsanto are great at health washing and spinning food too. They are hiring big time with media teams that develop social media channels as well as team up with other Big Food giants to build websites (GMOAnswers.com*) and create new positions to monitor and engage with the public across social media platforms. For example, in 2013, according to a free report by Friends of the Earth, titled “Spinning Food: How Food Industry Front Groups and Covert Communications are Shaping the Story of Food,” Monsanto hired PR firm Fleishman-Hillard to “develop a more cohesive communications approach, in the face of sustained GMO criticism.” This food spinning strategy was also uncovered in the The Holmes Report.
Healthwashing (verb)– The practice of a company promoting a product or service that is not healthy to begin with (often by using misleading claims or pseudo nutritional “facts”).
Did you know?: In 2009, Coca-Cola was sued over language the company used to market its VitaminWater product line, including words such as “endurance,” “rescue” and “energy.” The drinks contain 33 grams of sugar and synthetic vitamins.
The report also revealed how that year, Monsanto also created its first Online Engagement Director, responsible for helping to ensure that “accurate information about the company is considered in social media discussions.” On the LinkedIn profile for this position, responsibilities include providing information to bloggers, hosting blogger events and participating in public events on behalf of Monsanto. Often this engagement includes only subtle references to the company: On the Twitter account of the Online Engagement Director, for example, her more than 75,000 Tweets include occasional references to Monsanto by name, but include links to its sponsored websites like GMOAnswers.com.-See Source
In 2013, the Council on Biotechnology — funded by Monsanto, BASF, Bayer, Dow, DuPont and Syngenta — launched GMOAnswers.com to “help clear up confusion and dispel mistrust” about genetic engineering. The platform was designed to promote the appearance of transparency and honesty by offering an opportunity for anyone to post questions about GMOs and get answers from experts. But the experts on the site are not disinterested parties; they’re defenders of genetic engineering and some are even paid employees of biotech companies like Monsanto.-See Source
*GMOAnswers.com was developed by PR firm Ketchum, which has a long history of working with corporate clients to undermine environmental advocacy. The firm has a roster of clients with vested interested in industrial agriculture, from energy giants BP and Exxon to chemical companies Dow and Novartis.