Public interest advocacy organization the Center for Food Safety has issued a report titled “Best Public Relations Money Can Buy: A Guide to Food Industry Front Groups,” authored by food activist and attorney Michele Simon. The report describes what front groups are and how they purportedly function, drawing parallels with a cigarette industry trade group, which, according to Simon, by distorting science “effectively delayed public policy on tobacco for decades. The food industry’s current effort to distort science is similar, but somewhat more subtle, operating through less obvious front groups.”
Among the groups mentioned are (i) the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance— “[t]he group calls itself ‘farmers and ranchers’ because that sounds better than Monsanto and the Pork Board”; (ii) No on 37—a group fighting a ballot initiative in California that would have required labels on foods with genetically modified ingredients; it allegedly “claimed to be a ‘coalition of family farmers, grocers, food companies, small businesses and others,’ [but] they were in fact funded by leading biotech, pesticide, and junk food companies”; (iii) American Council on Science and Health—funders purportedly include General Mills, PepsiCo and the American Beverage Association; and (iv) Center for Consumer Freedom—with funding at one time from major food industry companies, this is “the attack dog of the food industry,” claims Simon.