Once our readers realize that those “May Contain” warnings on the label are entirely voluntary and convey little information about the risk of allergen cross-contact, their response is invariably: “That’s ridiculous! How can that be?”
The answer is a complex one. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a number of responsibilities and their effectiveness is often shaped by their budget, the politics of the day, and the very industry they are tasked with regulating. That industry spent over $30 million in 2016 campaign contributions alone, according to the Senate Office of Public Records.
If you don’t think all that lobbying has had a profound effect on the politics surrounding the FDA, an article in the Washington Post may change your mind.
On Wednesday, Daniel Lubetsky, the CEO of KIND snacks, launched a new advocacy called Feed the Truth and pledged to fund it with $25 million of his own money. The organization is designed to explore, expose and “counteract” the influence of the big money spent by the Big Food lobby.
Once they are active, he will step back and allow them to act independently from the industry.
“I don’t want to talk to them. I don’t want to know who they are. I’m not going to forward them articles,” Lubetzky said. “The announcement will be done by us. After that, we’re cutting the cord — the decisions will be made by board members I’ve never met.”
Though the article is not directly related to food allergies per se, it’s well worth your a few minutes of your time to read and will help you gain an appreciation for the sheer magnitude of the money involved in influencing policy, often not in your interest.
You can find the article by clicking here.
- Why one food executive is pledging $25 million to fight his own industry – The Washington Post
- Food & Beverage Industry Profile: Summary, 2016 – Center for Responsive Politics