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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.

Entries by Michele Simon

Tell the Feds: 'Yes to Less Meat, More Plants'

(0) Comments | Posted April 22, 2015 | 10:36 AM

Science and public health could finally prevail in federal dietary advice

Every five years the federal government updates the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The idea is to help Americans eat right, while informing nutrition standards for food assistance programs such as school meals. The "Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee" (DGAC)...

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Mayogate: Unilever Doctoring Customer Reviews

(0) Comments | Posted November 21, 2014 | 12:45 PM

Big Mayo scrubbing Hellmann's website to cover up deception after filing lawsuit against Hampton Creek

Hellmann's Page

Screen shots of Hellmann's promotion showing altered customer reviews. (Click for larger resolution.)

Last week I wrote about...

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Photo Guide to School Lunch -- A Walk Through the School Nutrition Association Expo

(0) Comments | Posted July 31, 2014 | 11:30 AM

Dominos Feeding Future

I recently attended the annual meeting of the School Nutrition Association, the trade group that represents the 55,000 food service workers who have the thankless job of feeding millions of schoolchildren every day. While there, I tweeted out a few...

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Whitewashed: How Industry and Government Promote Dairy Junk Foods

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2014 | 4:53 PM


The United States is in the midst of a public health epidemic due to poor diet. While much of the focus has been on obvious culprits such as sugary soft drinks and fast food, dairy foods often get a pass....

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Every State Counts: Support GMO Labeling in Oregon and Colorado

(6) Comments | Posted June 13, 2014 | 4:06 PM

The East Coast has been getting most of the attention lately on the state by state effort to label genetically-engineered food. Vermont recently passed a bill and New York State's bill is now moving. But let's not forget about the western states, which are also critical to this...

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Boston Law School Sells Out to Big Alcohol Front Group

(1) Comments | Posted March 28, 2014 | 4:18 PM

Co-authored by Jason Blanchette

Overconsumption of alcohol remains the fourth largest cause of preventable death in the United States, causing roughly 88,000 Americans to die prematurely...

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Want to Legalize Marijuana? Learn From Regulating Alcohol and Tobacco

(7) Comments | Posted March 14, 2014 | 2:48 PM

By Michele Simon and Leslie Zellers

Some commentators have compared the current effort to legalize marijuana to the post-Prohibition days of alcohol. And many advocates for marijuana legalization are making the comparison to alcohol. Indeed the entire campaign in Colorado in 2012 was called "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol."...

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Big Soda's Front Group Arrives Early in San Francisco

(1) Comments | Posted March 5, 2014 | 8:11 AM

Ballot measure could become first sugary drink tax in California.

Earlier this month, lawmakers in San Francisco introduced a bill that would tax sugary beverages at two cents per ounce, thereby setting off the latest big fight with Big Soda. The estimated $31 million in annual revenue would go...

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The Other NRA: National Restaurant Association Eviscerates the Rights of Customers, Workers, and Children

(2) Comments | Posted February 19, 2014 | 1:32 PM

Co-authored by Saru Jayaraman

Food movement leaders tend to stick to their specific issues, whether it's advocating for healthy food, fighting for workers' rights or curbing marketing to children. For each of these issues, there are numerous food corporations that need to change. But there is one organization that...

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Too Soon to Celebrate New SNAP Incentive Program in the Farm Bill

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2014 | 1:45 PM

Coauthored by Daniel Bowman Simon

Some local food advocates are applauding the new Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive program in the finally-passed farm bill. The idea is to provide cash incentives to participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka food stamps) for healthy eating. But a closer look reveals...

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Junk Food Lobby Brings Its Bag of Dirty Tricks to New Hampshire to Fight GMO Labeling

(5) Comments | Posted January 23, 2014 | 2:49 PM

The Grocery Manufacturers Association may soon be coming to your state capital. Take note of their rap sheet before you let them in the door.

In secret documents that I uncovered in November, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (aka food industry lobbyists) laid out its five-point plan for opposing...

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Why Is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Releasing Politically-charged Data Ahead of Peer Review?

(0) Comments | Posted January 10, 2014 | 4:13 PM

When I was asked yesterday by POLITICO to comment on a press release from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation celebrating the food industry's alleged reduction in calories, I thought, Oh, those data we've been waiting for are finally published. But I was wrong. As I reported last...

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Holding Big Food Accountable for False Claims of Responsible Marketing to Children

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2013 | 3:08 PM

By Michele Simon and Cara Wilking

Looking back at 2013, while the food movement made progress in certain areas (such as school food and GMO labeling), when it comes to exploitative food marketing to children meaningful change...

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Where Does the GE Food Labeling Movement Go From Here?

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2013 | 8:14 PM

Big Food Recycles Its Lies and Dirty Tricks in California to Fool Washington State Voters Into Rejecting Labeling Initiative

The final result from Washington State's ballot initiative to label genetically-engineered foods was painfully close. A mere two percentage points (38,000 voters) made the difference between yes and no. Similarly,...

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Behind Closed Doors: Who's Taking Meetings With FDA on Food Safety

(1) Comments | Posted December 6, 2013 | 1:56 PM

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 Food and Drug Administration's authority and oversight of the food supply. While much of the wrangling over the language of the law...

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How Low Can McDonald's Go to Disrespect Its Workers?

(9) Comments | Posted December 2, 2013 | 4:37 PM


It seems both ironic and fitting that while most Americans are obsessed with food for the Thanksgiving holiday, last week also marked International Food Workers Week, organized by the Food Chain Workers Alliance.

While many large restaurant chains and...

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

(340) Comments | Posted November 8, 2013 | 11:28 AM

Internal documents from the Grocery Manufacturers Association reveal height of corporate chutzpah. Industry's solution to GMO labeling is to: "Pursue statutory federal preemption which does not include a labeling requirement."

With the disappointing results now in from I-522, the initiative in Washington State that would have required labeling of...

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Clowning Around With Charity: How McDonald's Exploits Philanthropy and Targets Children

(39) Comments | Posted October 29, 2013 | 5:21 PM

New report from Eat Drink Politics exposes McDonald's charitable activity as a marketing tool to deflect critics


Pop quiz: Who do you think funds the hundreds of Ronald McDonald Houses around the nation? McDonald's, right? Sort of, but not...
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Junk Food Lobby Forced to Disclose Donors to Its Secret 'Defense of Brand Strategic Account'

(6) Comments | Posted October 23, 2013 | 3:58 PM

"This is the largest amount of money ever concealed in an election," says Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, as tobacco-style tactics by likes of PepsiCo and Nestle are revealed in Washington State's lawsuit against the Grocery Manufacturers Association over GMO labeling fight.

Just a few weeks ago, attorneys...

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Junk Food Lobbyists Sued for Money Laundering in Washington State

(7) Comments | Posted October 16, 2013 | 2:47 PM

Effort to Hide Brand-Name Corporations Opposing GE Food Labeling Lands in Court

In the final weeks leading up to Election Day, the debate over measure I-522 in Washington State is getting even uglier. As I recently explained, the Grocery Manufacturer Association, the nation's largest trade group for the processed...

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