Ex-Prez Rapped as Flack for Soda Jerks

The deal already looks suspiciously sweetened. On May 3, 2006, U.S. beverage firms announced an agreement with the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association gradually to pull most sweetened soft drinks from U.S. schools. Former President Bill Clinton led the press conference. But food policy expert Michele Simon says Clinton gave PR cover to the companies and coopted a more transparent public health-centered negotiation. Soda sales had already flattened. The beverage makers may have been looking to avoid a patchwork of state laws and to protect school vending machine slots for their other products--such as high calorie sports drinks, which were not part of the deal. Simon writes: "[T]his so-called agreement could undermine the massive public health effort currently underway in schools all across the nation."