British Nutrition Foundation
The BNF is an industry-supported charity whose corporate members read like a food industry Who's Who, including such companies as MacDonalds, Northern Foods, Kraft, Kelloggs, RHM, Coca Cola, Unilever, Nestlé, Sainsbury, Asda, Procter & Gamble, Dairy Crest ... you get the picture. Collectively they, and the Government (why?) support the BNF to the tune of over £1 million per year.
While recognising that the BNF does provide some good and worthwhile information on food and diet, we are mystified at the general lack of information on trans fats and their hazards.
As a registered charity, it is of course unthinkable that the BNF would deliberately compromise its impartiality or its charitable purpose in such a way as to reflect the commercial interests of the corporations that finance it.
"The Foundation promotes the nutritional wellbeing of society through the impartial interpretation and effective dissemination of scientifically based nutritional knowledge and advice. It works in partnership with academic and research institutes, the food industry, educators and government. The Foundation influences all in the food chain, government, the professions and the media. The Foundation is a charitable organisation which raises funds from the food industry, government and a variety of other sources."
However this should be seen in the context of this statement by Chairman Malcolm Peaker in the 2004 Annual Report, that the BNF benefits its corporate members through
the impartial provision by BNF of accurate and balanced evidence at times of media misinformation and politically-motivated scaremongering. Even a single food-and-health scare can significantly reduce the value of a company and undermine consumer confidence in a product. The only defence in such circumstances is the delivery of evidence by a trusted and respected organisation, and BNF has, on many occasions, defused some potentially very damaging situations by providing that evidence.
The more cynically minded might think that this is an admission of the BNF's true purpose: to act as a trusted, authoritative voice that dismisses food scares, maintains consumer confidence, and maintains the share price of food companies.
Post: British Nutrition Foundation, High Holborn House, 52-54 High Holborn, London WC1V 6RQ, UK.