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International Food Information Council

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

The International Food Information Council (IFIC) describes its mission as being to "communicate science-based information on food safety and nutrition to health and nutrition professionals, educators, journalists, government officials and others providing information to consumers."[1]

In reality, IFIC is a public relations arm of the food, beverage and agricultural industries, which provide the bulk of its funding.[1] Its staff members hail from industry groups such as the Sugar Association and the National Soft Drink Association, and it has repeatedly led the defense for controversial food additives including monosodium glutamate, aspartame (Nutrasweet), food dyes, and olestra. It also runs the corporate-friendly website, Kidnetic.com, with games and recipes for kids.[2]

While the group's name implies that it operates internationally, on its website IFIC states that its primary focus is the U.S. "Based in Washington, DC, the IFIC Foundation and IFIC focus primarily on U.S. issues. It also participates in an informal network of independent food information organizations in Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, Japan and Latin America," it states.[1]

Contents

Defending Biotech

IFIC has been working on food biotechnology issues since 1992 and has a lot of pro-biotech and food industry propaganda on its website, including such gung-ho gems as the following:

  • "New Survey Finds Americans as Positive as Ever on Food Biotechnology"
  • "Food Biotechnology--Benefits for Developing Countries"
  • "New Research Shows Consumers Willing to Try Irradiated (Cold Pasteurized) Foods; Taste Very Important"
  • "Consumers, Health Experts Desire Benefits of Biotech Foods and Concur with Current FDA Labeling Policy" [Current FDA policy does not require labeling of genetically modified foods.]

IFIC has used the Wirthlin Group, a Republican political and polling firm, to carry out many of its surveys on public attitudes. Tom Hoban, a sociology professor, has also been involved with survey design on IFIC-sponsored polls intended to measure public support for biotech foods.

In 1992, IFIC hired Dr. G. Clotaire Rapaille, a Jungian psychoanalyst, to advise them on ways to win public support for GM foods. Rapaille provided a list of "words to use" and "words to lose" when talking about the topic. The "words to use" included terms such as beauty, bounty, children, choices, cross-breeding, diversity, earth, farmer, flowers, fruits, future generations, hard work, heritage, improved, organic, purity, quality, soil, tradition and wholesome. "Words to lose" included: biotechnology, chemical, DNA, economic, experiments, industry, laboratory, machines, manipulate, money, pesticides, profit, radiation, safety and scientists.[3]

Contact information

  • IFIC Foundation
  • 1100 Connecticut Avenue N.W., Suite 430
  • Washington D.C. 20036
  • Phone: (202) 296-6540
  • Fax: (202) 296-6547
  • Email: foodinfo At ific.org
  • Website: http://www.ific.org/
  • Website: http://www.foodinsight.org/

Articles and Resources

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 International Food Information Council, About the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation", accessed March 2008.
  2. Kidnetic, Kidnetic.com website, accessed October 2008.
  3. Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, "Liquid Truth: Advice from the Spinmeisters," PR Watch, Fourth Quarter 2000.

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