Dozens of Hispanic and African-American civil rights groups, health advocacy organizations and business asocciations have joined the beverage industry in fighting soda regulation efforts around the U.S. in recent years -- and many of these groups have been among the recipients of tens of millions of dollars from the beverage industry that has flowed to nonprofit and educational organizations serving African-Americans and Hispanics over the last decade, reports The New York Times.
The Times based its report on its review of charity records and other documents.
The report describes the recent decision by a New York State judge striking down New York City's ban on large, sugary drinks as a high-profile victory not only for the beverage industry, but for these minority advocacy groups "representing the very communities hit hardest by the obesity epidemic." The groups have argued that efforts to regulate soda or other beverages and foods are "discriminatory, paternalistic or ineffective," reports The Times.
The New York chapter of the N.A.A.C.P., along with the Hispanic Federation, filed an amicus brief in support of the beverage industry's effort to block the NYC soda regulations (a ruling likely to be appealed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration).
Jose Calderón, the president of the Hispanic Federation, told The Times that he shares Mayor Bloomberg's concerns about obesity among Latinos, but "I don’t think we move the needle by legislating what people ultimately eat or drink...Our experience has been that you educate folks, empower folks — meet them where they are, basically.”