NEW YORK (AP) — An industry group that represents Coca-Cola and other drink makers says it is suspending payments to health experts to oppose soda taxes through posts on social media.
The move by the American Beverage Association comes after Coke asked it to review such work. That followed a health advocacy group noting that dietitians were opposing soda taxes on Twitter this week, and asking whether they were paid by Coke. Tweets included disclosures to note the posters were being paid, but didn't specify by whom.
After facing criticism for its work with health experts last year, Coca-Cola had said that it was no longer paying experts for such media work and that it was reviewing its various efforts to be more transparent.
The American Beverage Association, of which Coca-Cola is the largest member, said Thursday it was also suspending "use of these experts in social and digital media engagement pending a review." The group noted that the experts follow strict transparency standards, but that it wants to ensure it is meeting the standards of its members.
The suspension does not apply to the American Beverage Association's other efforts to fight soda tax proposals around the country.
Kevin Keane, a spokesman for the American Beverage Association, said the group had been working with health experts on such social media efforts for several years. He said the association plans to post online its relationships with various health experts to be transparent.
A representative for Ninjas for Health, the group that noted the tweets by health experts, was not immediately available for comment. It describes itself online as "a team of creatives inventing new ways to do public health."