Globalisation:European Food Information Council: Funding and connections

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Funding and Connections

EUFIC, markets itself as a non-profit organisation aimed at improving the eating habits and food information available in order to aid the general public in making the right choices when it comes to foods. It has become common knowledge as the awareness of healthy eating increases, that certain foods come under the category of healthy and ‘good’ for you, whilst others fall under the opposite category. As EUFIC wishes to promote healthy food it would be fair to expect that any funders to the company would come from such organisations. This however is not the case, instead current EUFIC funders include: Barilla, Cargill, Cereal Partners, Coca-Cola HBC, Coca-Cola, Danone, DSM Nutritional Products Europe Ltd., Ferrero, Kraft Foods, Louis Bonduelle Foundation, McCormick Foods, Mars, McDonald's, Nestlé, Novozymes, PepsiCo, Pfizer Animal Health, Südzucker, and Unilever.[1]It would seem then that EUFIC is facing somewhat of a contradiction, not only is EUFIC funded but labels associated with the more unhealthy foods on the market, but these companies have also come under much criticism for an array of different controversies. This page outlines a few selected case studies of EUFIC funders and controversies that they have been linked to. These case studies draw on food and drinks industry giants such as, Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola, Mars and McDonalds. Each of these examples stand to represent problems for EUFIC's representation as these related companies engage in activities which appear to conflict with EUFIC and in some cases their own social corporate responsibility. Although it can be expected that organisations such as EUFIC will need to receive funding from external sources this raises questions over whether EUFIC'S primary purpose is still being met or whether the influence of these giant external corporate financial powers are jeopardising their goal. As the process of globalisation continues to expand it becomes ever more difficult to find the truth behind companies and their aims.

During the television documtary 'Super Size Me' Spurlock (2004) interviews Gene Grabowski who worked as a lobbyist at the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). During the interview he addmitted that fast food companies such as the ones he lobbyed for were part of the problem. ‘We recognise we have a role to play... we’re part of the problem and we also are part of the solution... The lobbyist for Coke, Heinz, Smucker’s, Kellogg’s, Nestle, Kraft, Hershey’s, Sara Lee, Cadbury, General Mills, Seagram, Welch’s, Wise, Anheuser-Busch, Birds Eye, Lance, Campbell’s, Carvel, Mars, Ocean Spray, Hormel, Dannon and Pepsi said, we’re part of the problem.’ Many of the companies he was speaking on behalf of include companies which are funders of EUFIC. [2]

Funders and controversies

Kraft Foods:

According to the Organic Consumer Association Kraft Foods was called on to remove genetically engineered - also known as genetically modified(GM) - ingredients from their food supplies. Kraft Foods were found to use GM ingredients in many of their products. Research has shown that GM ingredients are suspected to pose not only a threat to human health but also the environment, this lead 'Consumers in more than 250 locations [to] call on Kraft Foods to stop putting human health and the environment at risk'. [3] An article published by Kraft Foods outlines that there is a differene in opinion over GM foods between Europeans and Americans, 'While the scientific consensus is clear, consumers don’t always agree. For example, in the U.S. most people are not concerned about GM foods or ingredients and so we use them in America. On the other hand, in Europe, we know the general public doesn’t want GM ingredients and so we don’t use them there.' [4] Whilst Wannen (2010) writing from America argues that Americans are just as worried about the health risks linked to GM's. Kraft Foods have been seen as wrong for using GM foods and this has meant that 'Many consumers refuse to purchase from them due to their potential to expose consumers to new allergies. Along with this, potentially hazardous pesticides are being used on american farms to support unlabeled GMOs. On the other side of the planet Kraft has altogether stopped using genetically engineered ingredients in their European products due to public demand' [5] 'Marketing Gimmick or Whole-Hearted? As environmentally-conscious as Kraft seems to be, their committment to healthy food has been questioned by many organizations including the Sierra Club. Currently, Kraft has shown little effort towards reducing their use of genetically modified ingredients.' [6] Lendman picks up on Smith's (2007) argument that 'Agribusiness giants allow nothing to interfere with profits, safety is off the table, and all negative information is quashed.' [7]


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'McDonald's promote their food as 'nutritious', but the reality is that it is junk food - high in fat, sugar and salt, and low in fibre and vitamins. A diet of this type is linked with a greater risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other diseases. Their food also contains many chemical additives, some of which may cause ill-health, and hyperactivity in children. Don't forget too that meat is the cause of the majority of food poisoning incidents. In 1991 McDonald's were responsible for an outbreak of food poisoning in the UK, in which people suffered serious kidney failure. With modern intensive farming methods, other diseases - linked to chemical residues or unnatural practices - have become a danger to people too (such as BSE).' [8]

Laurance, J (2003) from the Independent discusses the dangers of fast food and how it could lead to addiction in his article 'Fast food is addictive in same way as drugs, say scientists'. According to the article 'overeating might not be a simple matter of self-control. Lovers of burgers, fries, fizzy drinks and other fast foods could be in the grip of an addiction similar to that experienced by users of hard drugs, scientists claim' [9]

The television documentary 'Super Size Me' directed by and starring Spurlock (2004) explores many of the issues associated with the now vast availability of fast foods focusing on McDonalds. ‘In the lawsuit against them, McDonald’s stated in their own defence that it’s a matter of common knowledge that any processing that its foods undergo serve to make them more harmful than unprocessed foods.’ [10]


  1. "Europeice Website - Homepage", Europeice Website, accessed 10 October 2010
  2. Spurlock, M. (2004)"Super Size Me", Google Videos, accessed 17 November 2010
  3. "Kraft Hit by Record Number of Protests", Organic Consumers Association, accessed 1 November 2010
  4. "Biotechnology and the Use of Genetically Modified Ingredients", Kraft Foods, accessed 1 November 2010
  5. Wannen, D., (2010), "Conglomerate Kraft Foods Sets New Standard in Waste Reduction", Triple Pundit, accessed 1 November 2010
  6. Wannen, D., (2010), "Conglomerate Kraft Foods Sets New Standard in Waste Reduction", Triple Pundit, accessed 1 November 2010
  7. Lendman, S., (2008), "Potential Health Hazards of Genetically Engineered Foods", Global Research: Centre for Research on Globalization, accessed 1 November 2010
  8. "What's Wrong With McDonald's?", McSpotlight, accessed 13 November 2010
  9. Laurance, J. (2003)"Fast food is addictive in same way as drugs, say scientists", The Independent, accessed 17 November 2010
  10. Spurlock, M. (2004)"Super Size Me", Google Videos, accessed 17 November 2010