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Millions Spent Lobbying Food Safety

The Senate recently updated its lobbying disclosure database with second quarter spending information.  The documents available through the database reveal which organizations are spending what–and where their money is focused.

The Senate Website is set up so that you can easily search for companies lobbying on behalf of a particular subject like food safety.  Anyone can even view the particular actions of a favorite grocery chain, coffee company, or fast food restaurant.

Corresponding with the progress of a number of food safety bills, the second quarter of this year (April 1 through June 30) saw increased lobbying on the food safety front.  Mcdonald’s Corp. spent $315,160 this past quarter, which is three times what the company spent during the same quarter in 2009.  McDonald’s’ lobbying efforts focused on S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act; food labeling legislation; childhood nutrition bills; climate change; global warming; and the Food Safety Enhancement Act.

Cargill, Inc., the company that recently resolved an E. coli lawsuit with Stephanie Smith, spent $400,000 lobbying S. 510, greenhouse gas legislation, climate change, and childhood nutrition bills.

ConAgra Foods, which recently recalled Marie Callendar’s frozen entrees after they were determined to be the source of a Salmonella outbreak, spent about $100,000 lobbying S. 510, school nutrition programs, workers rights legislation and climate bills.

Dunkin’ Brands of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robins spent $150,000 on lobbying S. 510 and nutrition labeling legislation.

Starbucks Corporation spent $230,000 lobbying the federal government on S. 510 and other legislation involved with nutrition labeling procedures.

Kellogg’s spent $363,860 lobbying on issues involving marketing rules, advertising regulations, and bills regarding nutrition in schools.

Kraft spent $700,000 on more than twelve different bills navigating through congress, including S. 510, H.R. 4053 the Healthy Kids Act–for Childrens Advertising, S. 558–a labeling bill, the Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2009–S. 593, the Healthy Food for Healthy Schools Act of 2010–S. 1650, H.R. 1324–child nutrition bill, and many more.

Coca Cola spent $2,180,000 on “Health and nutrition issues including support of the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act and appropriations for physical education programs,” according to the company’s lobbying report.  The company also focused on water safety issues, recycling requirements, and issues surrounding food safety.

Walmart spent a whopping $1,673,000 during the three month period through four different lobbying organizations. The company focused on clean energy legislation, cheap healthy food legislation, and food safety.

Nestle spent $735,920 on lobbying S. 510, a bill banning poisonous additives, bills associated with childhood nutrition, clean air and water bills, and a derivatives market transparency bill.

Yum! Brands, the parent company of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC and other chains, spent $360,000 lobbying about nutrition disclosure, a paid sick leave bill, S. 510, and other food safety legislation.  Taco Bell was recently linked to an outbreak that has resulted in at least 155 people with Salmonella, and has been sued on behalf of at least one victim. The amount of money they spent this quarter more than doubled the $150,000 they spent in the first quarter of 2010.

Procter and Gamble spent a total of $1,079,067 lobbying the federal government on employment legislation, small business bills, trade relations, clean water bills, clean energy bills, various health legislation, S. 510, the bill banning poisonous additives, the bill banning BPA in children’s food and beverage containers, immigration legislation, and the S. 1074 Shareholder’s Bill of Rights.

Other popular companies that registered for lobbying disclosure include Mead Johnson with $60,000, Safeway with $480,000, and Hershey with $155,000.

Nearly every company and organization that registered for lobbying designated some money to lobbying policy makers on S. 510, FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. This bill has received a lot of objection and support from many different interest groups and continues to be one of the most contested pieces of legislation.

The complete Lobbying Disclosure Database can be found here.

© Food Safety News
  • dangermaus

    Big surprise… Cargill and ConAgra spent money trying to get S510 passed. More evidence that the bill is not just about safety… It’s about people maintaining controlling on how food is produced.