Junk Food Adopts Tobacco
Strategy of Smearing Critics

JUNK FOOD TRIES THE TOBACCO STRATEGY

"The similarities between what is shaping up to be the food wars
and the tobacco wars are obvious: The food industry is accused of
being a major contributor to a public-health crisis in much the
same way as the tobacco manufacturers have for decades now,"
observes PR Week.

"What is not so obvious is what PR tactics and lessons the food
industry will borrow from the tobacco companies this time around."

Indeed, tobacco lobbyist Rick Berman's Center for Consumer Freedom
(CCF) is cited in the piece as "the industry's main lobbying group" which
"seems to be in a 'give no ground' mode that is reminiscent of the early
days of Big Tobacco's fight."

CCF's Mike Burita opposes nutritional labeling of restaurant foods,
claiming that it would somehow interfere with consumers' right to
choose what they eat. Asking the industry to put warning labels on
foods, Burita says, "is like asking car manufacturers to place
warnings that driving 80 miles per hour is very dangerous."
(Apparently Burita has never noticed that streets and highways do
post speed limits.)

Tom Lauria, the former tobacco industry flack who went on
subsequently to work for Berman, is also quoted in the
piece, advising that food companies should, in the words of PR
Week, "take some cues from Big Tobacco, and maintain a united
front as the attacks heat up."

SOURCE: PR Week, June 3, 2002
Web links related to this story are available at:
http://www.prwatch.org/spin/June_2002.html#1023076805

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