Two days after it was revealed that a veteran leader within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was assisting Coca-Cola and International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) in influencing world health authorities on issues related to sugar and beverage policy, Dr. Barbara Bowman has now stepped down from her position.

Dr. Barbara Bowman, the disgraced former director of the CDC's division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention began working with the CDC in 1992 and has since been involved with a number of different initiatives within that division which is charged with providing "public health leadership."

Bowman's exit from the CDC comes after a number of her emails were revealed as having provided guidance to Alex Malaspina, former top Coca-Cola executive and strategist. Indeed, Malaspina, along with Coca-Cola helped found ILSI. The emails were revealed by virtue of a Freedom of Information Act request filed by U.S. Right to Know.

Barbara Bowman
© Barbara Bowman
The email communications obtained by the FOIA revealed that Bowman was eager to help Malaspina develop political influence with the World Health Organizations. In the emails, Malaspina complained that the WHO was not being attentive enough to the interests of Coca-Cola and ILSI. The emails included reports of concerns regarding Coca-Cola's new Coca-Cola Life product, a drink sweetened with Stevia, but that critics argue still contains more sugar than the daily recommended limit by the World Health Organization.

CDC spokeswoman Kathy Harben claims that the emails do not represent conflict-of-interest or a problem, but ILSI is known by most as a front group for major food corporations. It should also be mentioned that Bowman has long been connected to Coca-Cola where she maintained her own personal connections to Alex Malaspina.

Indeed, early in her career, Bowman was a senior nutritionist for Coca-Cola and even co-authored the edition of a book entitled Present Knowledge and Nutrition. The publisher? International Life Sciences Institute.

While the CDC may claim that Bowman's connections and actions are not a problem, most reasonable people would feel otherwise. Admittedly, however, for government "watchdog organizations" like the CDC, a revolving door between itself and a major food corporation is par for the course.