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Contributing Writers

Michele Simon

Michele Simon

Michele Simon is a public health lawyer specializing in industry marketing and lobbying tactics. She is the author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back, and president of Eat Drink Politics, an industry watchdog consulting business. She is grateful to live in Oakland, Calif., within walking distance of a farmers market. You can follow her on Twitter @MicheleRSimon.

Articles Written by Michele Simon

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Behind Closed Doors: Who’s Taking Meetings with FDA on Food Safety?

Opinion

When President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) into law in January 2011, it was considered a long-fought, but significant and bipartisan, victory to update the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s authority and oversight of the food supply. While much of the wrangling over the language of the law was made public through… Continue Reading

Industry’s Secret Plan to Get the Feds to Kill GMO Labeling in Every State

Opinion

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With the disappointing results now in from I-522, the initiative in Washington state that would have required labeling of genetically engineered food (aka, GMOs), the looming question is, what’s next? At least for the junk-food lobby, that answer in painfully clear: stop this state-level movement at any cost. In last Wednesday’s New York Times, Stephanie Strom reports on… Continue Reading

Effort to Hide Corporations Opposing GE Food Labeling Lands in Court

Opinion

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This editorial originally appeared on the blog of the Center for Food Safety on Oct. 15. Oct. 16 update: The Washington State attorney general’s office has filed a lawsuit against the Grocery Manufacturers Association, stating that the trade group “illegally collected and spent more than $7 million while shielding the identity of its contributors” to… Continue Reading

The Wrong Obama Gives Tough Talk on Junk Food Marketing to Kids

Opinion

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This past week, Michelle Obama gathered 100 food industry representatives, academic experts and public-health advocates for a “summit” at the White House to discuss junk food marketing to children. The event included public remarks by the first lady, followed by a closed-door discussion among attendees, ostensibly to come up with some solutions. Her speech was better than… Continue Reading

Trade Group, Biotech Giants Spending Big Bucks to Stop GE Labeling in WA

Opinion

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This editorial was originally published on Sept. 17, 2013, by the Center for Food Safety. The nation’s largest food makers’ trade group, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), is donating big money to oppose I-522, but on whose behalf? Even if you haven’t heard of the GMA, you know its members: the nation’s largest food makers… Continue Reading

Industry Lawyers Tell Big Food How Not to Get Sued

Opinion

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Last week I attended a conference in Washington DC with the lofty title: “3rd Advanced Regulatory and Compliance Summit on Food & Beverage Marketing & Advertising.” The event’s main sponsor was the law firm of Faegre Baker Daniels, whose numerous mega-corporate food clients include Cargill, Dean Foods and Nestlé. In addition, the firm represents (under the heading of “crop… Continue Reading

Nutrition Standards Won’t Fix Big Food’s Worst Child Marketing Tactics

Opinion

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Last month, I participated in an important panel at a childhood obesity conference to discuss the current strategy backed by some advocacy groups: asking industry to market “healthier” foods to children. But as Susan Linn and I recently argued, any marketing to children is harmful, regardless of the product’s nutritional content. Instead of begging corporations to… Continue Reading

How Did a Hepatitis A Virus Get Into Organic Berries?

Stalled federal import safety rules result in more illness

Opinion

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The latest example of how even health-conscious eaters are not immune from foodborne illness outbreaks came last week with a recall of organic frozen berries contaminated with Hepatitis A. The products were sold under the brand name of Townsend Farms at two large chains: Costco stores in the West and Harris Teeter stores in the East…. Continue Reading

How Grassroots Advocates Beat the Biotech and Food Lobbies

Opinion

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This week, Connecticut won the honor of becoming the first state to pass a law requiring genetically engineered foods to be labeled. (The governor has indicated he will sign.) It was really only a matter of time. The disappointing defeat of Prop 37 last fall in California (thanks to a massive industry disinformation campaign) sparked a national movement that has… Continue Reading

Best Public Relations Money Can Buy – A Guide to Food Industry Front Groups

Opinion

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Last month, the International Food Information Council Foundation released the third edition of its report: Food Biotechnology: A Communicator’s Guide to Improving Understanding. What sounds like a reasonable and helpful document is in fact the product of a well-oiled PR machine whose board of trustees includes executives from such food giants such as Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, and Mars. In response to… Continue Reading