Healthwashing is a dirty business – a close cousin of whitewashing. Whitewashing is loosely defined as ‘a coordinated attempt to hide unpleasant facts, especially in a political context’. Healthwashing is the weapon food and soft-drink companies use to hide unpleasant, soiled facts about their products.
In 2015, New York Times writer Anahad O’Connor showed that Coke spent billions over decades funding scientists and front organisations to shift the blame from sugar to fat for the global obesity epidemic. Now in the US, two pastors have filed a lawsuit against Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association. They say that the company has deliberately deceived customers about health risks through its advertisements. Coca-Cola vigorously disputes all claims. It has deep pockets to protect its profits.