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Joe the Camel Sells Fruit Cups. August 11, 2009

Filed under: Environmental Wellness,Nutritional Wellness,Take Action! — aprasek @ 6:40 pm

Internal Memo from Industry Strategy Meeting


Big Tobacco created a new marketing strategy when research revealed cigarettes could cause cancer. What was this new strategy? Lie. And when you get caught, just keep lying.

Yup, it’s a pretty simple strategy:  Just pay scientists to create “supporting” research, hide damning documents, pay off politicians, lobby like crazy and ultimately confuse the public with tons of conflicting data, science terms and fear tactics.

The strategy worked for a while for Big Tobacco, but pretty soon, they got busted. Unfortunately, these strategies are now used by chemical companies, food companies, pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies, etc.

The latest company to embrace the Tobacco marketing model is Del Monte.

Here’s evidence of shady marketing from an Industry strategy meeting attended by Del Monte and other companies inolved with the sale and use of BPA:

Committee members are meeting with as many representatives on the Health Committee as possible. The members are focusing on more legislative battles and befriending people that are able to manipulate the legislative process.


The committee doubts obtaining a scientific spokesperson is attainable. Their “holy grail” spokesperson would be a “pregnant young mother who would be willing to speak around the country about the benefits of BPA.”

Big Tobacco was also stuck in the same predicament many years ago- there were no respected experts willing to support the safety of their product. So, they had to hire a cartoon to market to the most vulnerable population- children. Del Monte and the companies supporting BPA are doing the same, they’re just subbing in a “pregnant young mother” to do their dirty work.

Check out Enviroblog for the full story on these subversive marketing strategies. And read more from the strategy meeting’s internal document here.

We’ve talked a bit about the health concerns of BPA (may disrupt endocrine system, brain development, reproductive system development; may cause cancer; may play a role in behavior and learning problems) in earlier posts on WG (check out: Round 1, Round 1.5 and Round 2). BPA, short for Bisphenol A, is a chemical that is used primarily in the production of plastics and epoxy resins (resins are used as a protective coating on the metal cans used for canned foods). 

The vast majority of research on BPA is very clear:  In animal studies, BPA is associated with many negative health issues. Thus, it’s very possible humans are also experiencing some type of negative health effect as a result of BPA exposure. This is particularly true for special/sensitive populations (women of child-bearing age, children, those with compromised immune systems, etc.)


No worries though, you can easily reduce your exposure to BPA. Here are a few tips:

  1. Limit your consumption of bottled water and sodas. Carry a BPA-free reusable bottle and refill with filtered tap water (learn more about bottled waters and check out my favorite reusable bottles here).
  2. Limit your use of plastic storage containers. Definitely recycle those old, beat up tupperware containers (you may have to take them to a special recycling center). You can purchase glass containers with lids (I found some at Target) or keep salsa jars, sauce jars, etc. and use them as storage containers.  
  3. If you have children:  Be sure that all of your baby/toddler products are BPA-free. This applies to bottles, food containers and toys (kids like to suck and chew on their toys which break down the plastic).
  4. If your “child” is an animal (literally a dog, cat, etc.) apply the above tip to pet food and toys. It may be a good idea to stick with dry food until canned pet foods have a BPA-free lining. 
  5. Limit your consumption of canned foods. At our house, we’ve made two changes that dropped our can use by at least 90%.  
  • We cook up beans, rice and other grains on Sunday. Throughout the week, the grains/beans are immediately ready for use in meals and snacks. 
  • We make soups and store them in quality mason jars in the freezer. Just don’t fill to the top because the soup needs room to expand when freezing. After each use, check the jar for cracks.  

One more tip that is a little more involved:  Consider canning your own fruits and veggies! I’ve done some with tomatoes and hope to move onto more diverse canning this fall. We’ll see how that turns out 🙂


You can also visit the EWG site for information on contacting Del Monte to tell them you don’t agree with their dirty marketing strategies. I’ll be dialing shortly…


What are your thoughts on BPA? If you’ve taken other measures to reduce your exposure to BPA, please comment below and share!



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