Curing Cancer with Fried Chicken?

\nKFC wants to donate up $8.5 million to Susan G. Komen for the Cure and has already donated over $2.6 million. That’s a lot of money to help find a cure for breast cancer. How can anyone have a problem with that?
KFC’s “Buckets for the Cure” campaign has met with some skepticism because of the way KFC is raising the money. The fast food company is donating fifty cents from every pink bucket of grilled or fried chicken that is purchased through participating KFC restaurants.
The problem many people see is that fast food like fried chicken and even fatty grilled chicken may contribute to health problems, like obesity, that are considered cancer risks.
CNN reports that Barbara Brenner, executive director of Breast Cancer Action, has a problem with the pink buckets and calls them “pinkwashing.” Pinkwashing is a term used for unhealthy products that go pink for a short time, usually during breast cancer awareness month. The companies slap a pink ribbon on the product’s packaging and promise to donate a small fraction to breast cancer research.
Brenner also has a problem with the Komen Foundation.
“This will keep them (Komen) in business for years. They talk about a cure, but this this partnership will create more breast cancer. And Komen knows this," said Brenner on the assumed relationship between fast food, excess weight and cancer risk.
She’s not the only one who sees a conflict of interest with Buckets for the Cure. Marion Nestle first reported on the incongruency of this campaign on her Food Politics blog last week. She sites the fact that The American Cancer Society’s first recommendation for preventing cancer is to has to do with maintaining healthy weight.
The Think Before You Pink website is “deeply concerned about the implications of KFC’s and Komen for the Cure’s new “Buckets for the Cure” campaign” and says that KFC = Komen Fails Communities.
The Washington Post points out that consumers don’t even need to purchase the chicken in the pink buckets for the donation to be made. It’s actually not 50 cents from each consumer bought pink bucket. It’s 50 cents donated for each pink bucket that the franchises buy. So, technically, those pink buckets could sit in the KFC franchise without ever getting filled with chicken and the donation would still be made. So consumers who buy the pink buckets aren’t actually contributing to anything but perhaps their waistline.
The Washington Post also has a poll at the bottom of their piece that asks what readers think of the pink bucket idea. Fifty-six percent of those polled think that it’s misguided and makes both KFC and the Komen Foundation look bad. Thirty-one percent of those polled find the pairing strange, but still like the idea. The remainder of those polled think its fantastic and we should all run out and get a pink bucket of chicken.

What do you think? Do you think that KFC’s way of raising money to donate to breast cancer research is a valid one?

Robin Shreeves blogs about food for the Mother Nature Network.

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Stephen Colbert on the KFC controversy

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Photo courtesy of KFC via Mother Nature Network
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

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