Yale Takes Heat for Pepsi-Funded Obesity Study


The Yale School of Medicine's decision to accept a $250,000 fellowship grant from PepsiCo leaves many food activists wondering if the research will be biased.

According to the Yale Daily News, the activists have criticized the decision the soft-drink and snack food giant made in December to sponsor a graduate fellowship in the school's M.D.-Ph. D. program. The grant is worth $250,000 over five years for students who want to perform research on nutrition and obesity-related diseases.

"They make some healthier things, but the profit drivers of their portfolio include Pepsi, Gatorade and a whole litany of unhealthy beverages," public health lawyer Michele Simon and author of Appetite For Profit: How The Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How To Fight Back told the Daily News. "They own Cheetos, for God's sake."

New York-based chef and blogger Rob Endelman told the Daily News that the fellowship and laboratory will produce biased results that will benefit PepsiCo's bottom line. The financial relationship between the company and the University sends the wrong message about scholarly research, he said.

School of Medicine Dean Robert Alpern, who received e-mails from the activists, said the school had done nothing wrong in accepting the company's grant. 

"We don't see PepsiCo as an evil company," Alpern told the newspaper. 

PepsiCo owns Pepsi products like Mountain Dew and the energy drink Amp, the Gatorade brand, Frito-Lay, Tropicana and Quaker.

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