Soft drink mogul Coca-Cola has revealed that it has invested in almost $1.7 million in financing Australia’s academic and health research groups in the past five years.
The ABC reported that Coca-Cola also released the list of 36 research organisations which it has been financing for a while now. The soft drink giant offered $247,570 to the Exercise Is Medicine Project, while it financially aided the University of Sydney and Sports Medicine Australia with $375,540 and $120,000, respectively. Some of the other names revealed in the list are Ted Noffs Foundation, David Wirrpanda Foundation, Nutrition Society of Australia, University of Queensland, Bicycle Network, Australian Paralympic Committee, the Australian Circus and Physical Theatre Association as well as police-citizen youth clubs.
Surprisingly, the list did not contain the name of NSW Institute of Sport, which claims Coca-Cola as one of its sponsors. On this, both the soft drink giant as well as the NSW Institute of Sport has given a similar statement, stating that the support agreement was completely a commercial one related to a “product outside of the criteria.”
An American food blogger, Professor Marion Nestle, said that the funding might pose a negative impact on the integrity of the organisations being funded, especially if the research they were conducting was concerned with obesity.
“If they are doing research on diet and health then the Coca-Cola funding is going to make them look as if they are working for the company. I don’t think that’s good for their independence or their research,” the outspoken anti-sugar campaigner told 7.30. “Many of these studies look like they are just there to make it easier for the company to make health claims for its products.”
The soft drink company published the details on Thursday after Fairfax Media questioned its contribution to the fitness sector of the nation. After the company’s criticism by the media, Coca-Cola said that it was a “lengthy process” to compile the details and hence it would take some time to specify the details.