Today’s New York Times carries a piece by Robert Pear on soda industry opposition to NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to ban the use of food stamp (SNAP) benefits to buy sugary drinks.
My first-Sunday monthly column for the San Francisco Chronicle is on precisely the same topic. I will post it tomorrow.
In the meantime, here’s what the Times says about how the soda industry is organizing opposition:
While the American Beverage Association has led the opposition, the fight demonstrates how various parts of the food industry have united to thwart the mayor’s proposal. Beverage industry lobbyists have worked with the Snack Food Association, the National Confectioners Association, which represents candy companies, the Food Marketing Institute, which represents 26,000 retail food stores, as well as antihunger groups like the Food Research and Action Center and Feeding America.
But here’s how the strategies play out in practice:
Eighteen members of the Congressional Black Caucus recently urged the Obama administration to reject New York’s proposal. The plan is unfair to food stamp recipients because it treats them differently from other customers, they said in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
While Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are among the largest contributors to the nonpartisan Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, a research and education institute, caucus members say their positions are not influenced by such contributions.
See my Food Matters column tomorrow for how I view all this.