Are Big Tobacco and Big Food equals?

We’ve been posting an increasing number of law- and litigation-related items on Fat City. Whether that’s simply because legislatures are in session, or due to a busy new administration or several food movements reaching maturity I do not know.

The latest comes not from law but from academia, where Kelly Brownell and Kenneth Warner, Yale and Michigan professors respectively, argue that the food industry’s — they call it “Big Food” — products carry many of the same dangers that Big Tobacco did in the 1950s. Brownell and Warner are highly respected in the field of food science and thus their paper is getting major press and negative reaction.

The article reminds readers that in the 1950s, Big Tobacco released a paper and paid for it to be placed in hundreds of newspapers. The “Frank Statement to Cigarette Smokers” included the famous lines, “We

accept an interest in people’s heath as a basic responsibility… We

believe the products we make are not injurious to health.” Read the whole ad here. It’s basically one big lie after another.

Brownell and Warner write, “The basic premise was simple — smoking had not been proved to cause cancer. Not proven, not proven, not proven — this would be stated insistently and repeatedly. Inject a thin wedge of doubt, create controversy, never deviate from the prepared line. It was a simple plan and it worked.”

They suggest that food companies are taking a

similar route now that their products are under increasing attack.

Categories: Dining, Food & Drink