Talk:International Food Information Council
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What are some effects
The IFIC is obviously a propaganda website/organization sponsored by the food and aggro industry. This article is simply a snippet from their website and doesn't belong on Wikipedia without opposing opinion. The website is typical in that it defends many controversial food ingredients like MSG and High Fructose Corn Syrup at the same time blaming childhood obesity on everything but. But the best line on the website has to be this one: "According to the American Cancer Society, pesticides play a valuable role in sustaining our food supply." Hardly an actual "scientific" organization. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.127.116.11 (talk) 14:05, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Here's something from a book
Here's something from a book I've been reading: "In the 1970s, largely as a response to reformational grumblings stirred up by concern over an unsubstantiated link between caffeine and pancreatic cancer, Coca-Cola and other purveyors of dietary caffeine set up and funded the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) and its public relations arm, the International Food Information Council (IFIC), both based in Washington, D.C., to help forestall any efforts to regulate or ban caffeine. The heart of these groups was their Caffeine Committee. In the last twenty years ILSI has sponsored and IFIC has publicized dozens of reputable research projects and international conferences of scientists to evaluate the role of caffeine in human health. Naturally, the Caffeine Committee is careful to search out and support those researchers who see caffeine as a relatively harmless coumpound and to avoid supporting those who would like to see it removed from the market." The World of Caffeine by Bennett Alan Weinberg and Bonnie K Bealer. New York: Routledge, 2001. 189-190
Obviously the website covers lots more than caffeine. I'm leaving the edits to someone more experienced, but the above quotation should provide some good info, and I've flagged the article as biased. --Ahalterman (talk) 04:45, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
In the interest of disclosure, as of this writing I am an employee of IFIC and the IFIC Foundation (or IFICF, IFIC's 501(c)3 educational arm).
I would like to propose deleting the section in this article titled "Criticism," in addition to reference citation 3. While IFICF is certainly not immune from criticism, the passage citing a report by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) that has been included is superfluous, inflammatory, self-contradictory, tendentious and non-neutral.
First of all, it is superfluous in that the previous version of the article contained the passages, "The people that fund this council are companies like Monsanto, DuPont, and Coca Cola, to name a few," and "IFIC is supported by the broad-based food, beverage, and agricultural industries." It also includes a much longer list of companies, along with a link to the complete list on IFIC’s websites. Therefore, the CFS passage is merely "piling on." It is also inflammatory, in that such piling on and according of undue weight to these passages have the overall effect of demonizing an important and legitimate sector of corporate America. People are free to criticize this sector, but the extent to which it occurs in this article is editorial, rather than strictly factual, and it has no place in such an important venue as Wikipedia.
Second, it is inherently self-contradictory of other information in the article. The article clearly states IFICF's supporters, as well as provides a link to our website detailing those same supporters. (I would also note that while the majority of IFICF's funding comes from the broad-based food, beverage and agriculture sector, other funding sources include government agencies such as USDA, other non-profits, and additional non-corporate sources. A more neutral article would point that out and not give such undue weight to other supporters.) Given that, it is incorrect to call a group a "front group" if it regularly and prominently makes known its funders. Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines a front group as "a person, group, or thing used to mask the identity or true character or activity of the actual controlling agent." Masks conceal, but IFICF's admirable level of transparency reveals. Applying the label "front group" to IFICF is quite simply an oxymoron.
Third, it is tendentious and non-neutral because it cites a study by a self-interested and non-neutral group and accords it undue weight. While IFIC supports the freedom of those who choose an organic lifestyle, some organic proponents have been among IFICF's most vociferous critics. CFS's website admits that its mission includes "promoting organic" agriculture, which speaks to an agenda rather than an altruistic desire to ensure the authoritative and neutral nature of Wikipedia. Furthermore, as far as I can tell, CFS does not reveal its donors either on its website or on its IRS Form 990s. The hypocrisy and unfairness alone should argue for the deletion of this particular passage. In addition, the author of the report is similarly opaque, writing on her own website (Eat Drink Politics), "Some of our clients and funders prefer to remain anonymous for various reasons and we respect those wishes." Among the "partial list" of clients she DOES disclose, several of them have self-interested motives to oppose conventional food production and biotechnology. IFICF chooses to pursue a dialogue about food issues based on facts, not name-calling, and Wikipedia is the wrong forum for such ad hominem.
I would submit that deletion of the previously referenced section and footnote is the only rational and logical course of action.
As a post script, I would point out that one of the users above makes an entirely factually incorrect statement. IFIC's origins do not date back to the 1970s, and they have nothing to do with caffeine. IFIC was formed in 1985 when there was a lot of public interest surrounding the low-calorie sweetener aspartame.