Wellington, Dec 11
Green Party MP Sue Kedgley says soft drink giants' move to supply only diet and low sugar drinks to schools around New Zealand starting today is a PR ploy.
Frucor Beverages Group, which makes Pepsi, and Coca Cola Amatil made a voluntary agreement with the Government in 2006 to stop directly supplying full sugar drinks to schools by December 11.
Ms Kedgley said the sugar-filled frizzy drinks were removed to keep vending machines and both brands in schools -- not for public health.
"The much touted agreement is more about public relations and spin than public health," she said.
"Fizzy drinks and vending machines have no place in schools - whether they are sugar-filled or diet drinks."
Coca-Cola Amatil denies her allegations. A spokesperson for the brand said: "I don't think anybody could say that a company that is taking
direct responsibility and has a direct multi-million dollar impact to their bottom line is doing this as a public relations stunt, especially in the current economic environment."
The company said it would be hard to find a half dozen vending machines throughout schools in New Zealand, and most were in staff rooms.
"We provide a huge variety of products: water, fruit juice, sports drinks, and diets are a very small part of the portfolio. They are an
important part because they provide people with an alternative without any sugar," the spokesperson said.
Ms Kedgley said schools should be encouraging healthy choices, and not allowing students to become addicted to sweet, carbonated drinks.
"Drinks like diet Coca Cola and Pepsi are devoid of nutrition, and contain controversial additives like aspartame, and caffeine, which can make children hyperactive, irritable and anxious," she said.
"They are also highly acidic and can damage tooth enamel and contribute to dental disease. This is a serious public health concern with research showing that the dental health of New Zealand children continues to deteriorate."
P.S.: from NaturalNews.com Here's tomorrow's feature story on NaturalNews: New research shows that diet soda destroys kidney function. We've been warning about this for years, and now (finally) the medical establishment is starting to wake up to the reality on this. Story by E. Huff. Read it here: http://www.naturalnews.com/027758_aspartame_kidney_failure.html