(Hartford, CT) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today released the following statement after Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent submitted an op-ed to the Wall Street Journal in which he responded to charges that the company was attempting to deceive the public with scientific research, and vowed to improve transparency. The letter comes two days after Sen. Blumenthal wrote letters to the presidents of the University of South Carolina, University of Colorado, and West Virginia University, urging them to clarify the nature of their universities’ relationships with the research projects, and that they review the academic integrity of any grant agreements in the past or present between professors and researchers at their institutions and the Coca-Cola Company.
“The self-critical letter submitted today by Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent to the Wall Street Journal has meaning only if followed by real actions that accurately inform consumers about the dangers of sugary soft drinks and a preeminent importance of nutritious diet with healthful exercise,” Blumenthal said. “I am pleased by Mr. Kent’s public pronouncement that the way in which Coca-Cola engaged the public-health and scientific communities was ineffective, but the company’s actions were possibly worse than that because they attempted to confuse the public. I intend to hold Mr. Kent and Coca-Cola to account on their promises to do better, and look forward to learning more about their efforts.”