The food and beverage industry has already donated over $7.9 million to federal candidates, parties and outside political groups during the 2012 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, demonstrating its power and influence in Washington.

The industry’s political spending has increased since the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision, but its lobbying efforts have long carried a hefty price tag, and critics warn that the lobbying has influenced the highest levels of government.

Critics say that first lady Michelle Obama has made the administration vulnerable to the powerful food lobby in her push to address childhood obesity through the Let’s Move campaign.

Reuters reported a meeting in the White House with executives from companies including Kellogg, General Mills, and Nestle USA, Let’s Move backed off of its messaging against diet choices and began to emphasize exercise as a means to end childhood obesity.

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