Grocery Manufacturers Association

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The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), previously the Grocery Manufacturers of America, based in Washington, D.C., is the world's largest trade association for corporations making food, beverage, and consumer products. Representing such companies as Campbell Soup Company, Kraft Foods, and Pepsi, it channels political contributions, lobbies and engages in public relations on behalf of its member corporations.[1][2] In 2007, the Food Products Association (FPA), which focuses on science, nutrition labeling, and food safety, merged with GMA.[3]

Food Guide Pyramid

The federal government introduced its revision of the food pyramid, the pictorial representation of its dietary guidelines reportedly recognized by 80% of the population,[4] in April 2005. Called "MyPyramid," it features triangular colored segments alongside a stick figure climbing stairs.[5]

Two days after its release, the Grocery Manufacturers Association announced plans to promote the new pyramid to students, teachers and families. The group also took credit for the pyramid's high recognition rate, saying it was "due, in part, to the efforts of the food and beverage industry."[6]

In September 2005, on the same day that the the USDA unveiled the game-filled "MyPyramid for Kids," GMA introduced a new curriculum designed to teach children about the special version of MyPyramid designed just for them in a partnership with Weekly Reader. According to GMA, "The new educational materials will be used by approximately 58,000 educators who reach more than four million students in grades 4-6." They also pledged to translate materials into Spanish and distribute materials for free to schools with high-Hispanic populations.[7]

School Nutrition Policy

The Grocery Manufacturers Association has opposed virtually every state bill across the nation that would restrict the sale of junk food or soda in schools. Michele Simon, in her book Appetite for Profit, found in a search of the GMA website more than 126 hits relating to schools, most of which are either submitted testimony or a letter filed in opposition to a school-related nutrition policy. Document titles include: GMA Letter in Opposition of Texas Food and Beverage Restrictions, GMA Letter in Opposition to Oregon School Restrictions Bills, GMA Requests Veto of Kentucky School Restrictions Bill, and GMA Letter in Opposition to California School Nutrition Bill.[8] They have also opposed efforts to limit the sale of soda in schools.

GMA also has lobbyists in every state capital working to weaken or defeat legislation. In 2004, GMA helped defeat a California bill that would have set nutrition standards for school food. With more lobbying resources and money to contribute to political campaigns, the GMA is able to beat back nutrition advocates.[9] GMA lobbyists have also banded together with soda lobbyists to oppose efforts to limit the sale of soda in schools and with restaurant associations to oppose the posting of calories on menu boards.[10]

Labor in the Chocolate Industry

In 2001, GMA and the chocolate industry lobbied against legislation in the U.S. Congress that would put "slave free" labels on chocolate. In the West African country of Ivory Coast, children as young as 11 are sold into slavery to harvest cocoa beans. The country supplies almost half of U.S. cocoa. According to a U.S. State Department estimate, up to 15,000 children in the Ivory Coast work as slaves in cocoa, cotton, and coffee production.

Two former U.S. Senators who were Senate majority leaders, Bob Dole (Republican from Kansas) and George J. Mitchell (Democrat from Maine), were hired to lobby lawmakers against legislation requiring these "slave free" labels.[11][12]

Fueling opposition to ethanol

In early 2008, after realizing that "rising food prices ... create a window to change perceptions about the benefits of bio-fuels," GMA decided to launch "an 'aggressive' public relations campaign ... in an effort to roll back ethanol mandates that passed in last year's energy bill," reported Roll Call. In March, GMA began searching for a PR firm to help it build "a global center-left coalition" against ethanol and hire "trusted third-party experts" who would link ethanol to global hunger and poverty.[13]

The Glover Park Group submitted a six-month, $50,000 proposal to GMA and won the account. As part of the campaign, Glover Park suggested attacking "whatever intellectual justification might still exist for corn-based ethanol among policy elites," launching a website and possibly creating a "costumed 'mascot' ... to drawn attention and distribute advocacy materials at local supermarkets." U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who strongly criticized the anti-ethanol PR campaign, posted GMA's "request for proposal" (PDF) and Glover Park's response (PDF) on his website. [13]

Bush addresses GMA conference

As an example of a GMA conference, on October 30, 2007, President George Bush addressed the group in Washington, DC. Bush shook hands with and was introduced by Sunny Delight Beverages CEO William B. Cyr. Bush then went on to talk about his opposition to the Democrats' position on health care.[14][15]

Political contributions

The Grocery Manufacturers Association gave $110,884 to federal candidates in the 2006 election through its political action committee - 20% to Democrats and 80% to Republicans.[16]

Lobbying

2012 Lobbying Data:

Lobbying Firm Amount Reported Issue
DTB Associates $12,000 Geographical indications, trade negotiations, sanitary and phytosanitary issues
Grocery Manufacturers Association $1,940,000 No bill # -- Competitive Foods (entire issue); FDA Funding (relating to food); Hunger Funding (entire issue); Food Labels (entire issue); 2012 Farm Bill (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). HR 1075 -- Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit Repeal Act (entire bill); S 1057 -- Ethanol Subsidy & Tariff Repeal Act (entire bill); S 1185 -- Ethanol Reform and Deficit Reduction Act (entire bill); HR 2307 -- Ethanol Subsidy Repeal Act (entire bill); HR 1188 -- Repeal Ethanol Subsidies Today Act of 2011 (entire bill); HR 3097 -- Renewable Fuel Standard Flexibility Act (RFS reform); Ethanol -- eliminating infrastructure funding. S 25 -- Stop Unfair Giveaways and Restrictions Act of 2011 (entire bill); S 685 -- Free Sugar Act of 2011 (entire bill); HR 1739 -- Free Sugar Act of 2011 (entire bill); HR 1385 -- Free Market Sugar Act (entire bill); S 847 -- Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 (entire bill); No bill # -- TSCA regulations under existing law (entire issue); No bill # -- reference dose for dioxin; No bill # -- BPA (entire issue).HR 5973 -- Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013 (funding for FDA); S 3240 -- Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, food labeling provisions, and the US sugar program); No bill # -- 2012 House Farm Bill (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the US sugar program); S 2375 -- Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies.
Duberstein Group $200,000 FDA review of BPA - Executive Branch action re this issue. Labeling of genetically modified ingredients - Executive Branch action re this issue. Food safety issue involving Bisphenol-A (BPA) - Feinstein amendment to S 3187, Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act. Labeling of genetically modified ingredients - Amendment to S 3240, Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012. Restrictions on use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - HR 5973, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013; S 3240, Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012; proposed legislation re this issue. Sugar loan program reform - Proposed amendment to S 3240, Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012.Renewable fuels standard and the ethanol mandate in gasoline - Proposed legislation re these issues.


The Grocery Manufacturers Association spent $1,420,000 for lobbying in 2006. $780,000 went to eight lobbying firms with the remainder being spent using in-house lobbyists. They spent $1,560,000 lobbying in 2007, [17] In 2008, they expanded their lobbying operations, spending $4.5 million [18] They spent $3.2 million in 2009, [19] 3.9 million in 2010 [20] and another 3.9 million in 2011 [21]


Some of the lobbying firms used were Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, Patton Boggs, Covington & Burling, and the lobby group Alliance for American Advertising.[22]

Member companies

A few of the hundreds of member companies: [2]

Personnel

As of January 2009, Pamela Bailey will be GMA's President and CEO. She previously served as President and CEO of the Personal Care Products Council, a cosmetics industry group. [23]

Leadership: [24]

  • Cal Dooley, President and Chief Executive Officer, Former Democratic Congressman from California, 1991-2004[25]
  • James Skiles, Vice President and General Counsel
  • Sean McBride, Vice President, Communications
  • Mary Sophos, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs

Board of Directors: [26]

Contact details

1350 I (Eye) Street, NW
Suite 300
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 639-5900
Fax: (202) 639-5932
Email: info AT gmaonline.org
Web: http://www.gmabrands.com

SourceWatch resources

External links

References

  1. About GMA (news release). Grocery Manufacturers Association. Retrieved on February 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Grocery Manufacturers Association, Membership, organizational website, archived by The Wayback Machine December 26, 2013.
  3. About page, Grocery Manufacturers Association/Food Products Association, March 12, 2007.
  4. Michele Simon, "Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Underminds our Health and How to Fight Back (paperback) (Nation Books, 2006), 146.
  5. United States Department of Agriculture, "MyPyramid.gov", accessed October 2008.
  6. Food, beverage companies will use new food guide to promote healthy lifestyles (news release). Grocery Manufacturers Association (April 19, 2005).
  7. GMA and Weekly Reader will reach 4 million students with nutrition education program (news release). Grocery Manufacturers Association (September 28, 2005).
  8. Michele Simon, "Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back." (paperback) (Nation Books, 2006), 223.
  9. Michele Simon, "Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back." (paperback) (Nation Books, 2006), 223-224.
  10. Michele Simon, "Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back." (paperback) (Nation Books, 2006), 230, 210.
  11. Sumana Chatterjee, "Chocolate Firms Fight 'Slave Free' Labels", Philadelphia Inquirer/CorpWatch, August 1, 2001.
  12. George J. Mitchell, NNDB, accessed December 2007.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Anna Palmer, "Beating Up on Ethanol: Glover Park Helps Frame the Debate," Roll Call, May 14, 2008.
  14. "President Bush Addresses Fall Conference", GMA, accessed February 2008.
  15. Jennifer Loven, "Bush goes after Democrats on health care", USA Today, October 30, 2007.
  16. 2006 PAC Summary Data, Open Secrets, accessed February 2008.
  17. Grocery Manufacturers Association lobbying expenses, Open Secrets, accessed July 27th, 2012.
  18. Grocery Manufacturers Association lobbying expenses, Open Secrets, accessed July 27th, 2012.
  19. Grocery Manufacturers Association lobbying expenses, Open Secrets, accessed July 27th, 2012.
  20. Grocery Manufacturers Association lobbying expenses, Open Secrets, accessed July 27th, 2012.
  21. Grocery Manufacturers Association lobbying expenses, Open Secrets, accessed July 27th, 2012.
  22. Grocery Manufacturers Association lobbying expenses, Open Secrets, accessed February 2008.
  23. "US: GMA Appoints New President & CEO," Namnews, December 11, 2008.
  24. Staff List, GMA, accessed February 2008.
  25. Cal Dooley, NNDB, accessed February 2008.
  26. Board of Directors, GMA, accessed February 2008.

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