Food Industry Front Groups

Learn more about how food industry front groups attempt to control public discourse. Members of the Los Angeles District (LAD) of California Dietetic Association share information about a very controversial topic!

Download the full report: Best Public Relations Money Can Buy 
(Released by the Center for Food Safety in May 2013)
Written by Michele Simon where you will learn information such as:
What is a Front Group?

  • Represent PR efforts by the food industry (in response to heightened criticism)
  • Reassure media/public/policymakers that our food system is “healthy” and safe
  • Appear to benefit the public, often claiming to represent farmers or consumers (“on your side”)
  • Push industry-friendly science and hide their true agenda/funders (write op-eds as “experts”)

What are Common Front Group Tactics?

  • Main goal to control public discourse (give people “talking points”)
  • Attempt to change the way problems are talked about (downplay or discredit)
  • Common tactics are to “debunk” common “myths” about food and nutrition (“science”)

What are Some Specific Tactics?

  • Astroturfing (Fake Grassroots): pretending to represent the “little guy”
  • Shooting the Messenger: discrediting critics (mockery, “food police” or “extremist”)
  • Buying Science: paying for research (and placing in media) without proper disclosure
  • Scaremongering: preying on people’s fears (typically related to economy) ex: Prop 37 in CA

Food Industry Front Groups

Dr. David Wiss became a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) in 2013 and founded Nutrition in Recovery, a group practice of RDNs specializing in treating eating and substance use disorders. In 2017, David received the “Excellence in Practice” award at the National Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo. The California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics awarded him the “Emerging Dietetic Leader Award” in 2020. He earned his Ph.D. from UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health in the Community Health Sciences department (with a minor in Health Psychology) by investigating the links between adverse childhood experiences and various mental health outcomes among socially disadvantaged men. His treatment philosophy is based on a biopsychosocial model which incorporates an understanding of biological mechanisms, psychological underpinnings, and contextual factors that integrate the social determinants of health. Wise Mind Nutrition is an app-based interactive treatment program available for download now -

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