"Multinational food, drink and alcohol companies are using strategies similar to those employed by the tobacco industry to undermine public health policies, health experts said on Tuesday.
In an international analysis of involvement by so-called "unhealthy commodity" companies in health policy-making, researchers from Australia, Britain, Brazil and elsewhere said self-regulation was failing and it was time the industry was regulated more stringently from outside.
The researchers said that through the aggressive marketing of ultra-processed food and drink, multinational companies were now major drivers of the world's growing epidemic of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Writing in The Lancet medical journal, the researchers cited industry documents they said revealed how companies seek to shape health legislation and avoid regulation.
This is done by "building financial and institutional relations" with health professionals, non-governmental organizations and health agencies, distorting research findings, and lobbying politicians to oppose health reforms, they said.
They cited analysis of published research which found systematic bias from industry funding: articles sponsored exclusively by food and drinks companies were between four and eight times more likely to have conclusions that favored the companies than those not sponsored by them.
"Regulation, or the threat of regulation, is the only way to change these transnational corporations," wrote the researchers, led by Rob Moodie from the University of Melbourne in Australia.
Ian Gilmore, special adviser on alcohol to Britain's Royal College of Physicians said the findings were "a final nail in the coffin" of the idea that involving the alcohol industry in public health measures could work.
"Any government serious about public health should in future divorce its public health activities from industry involvement," Gilmore, who was not involved in study, said in a statement.
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It added that, within the EU, the European Commission had opted to take a "multi-stakeholder approach gathering governments, industry, the healthcare community and civil society to work together to teach people how to eat better, take more exercise and lead healthy, balanced lifestyles".
The researchers said, however, that their evidence showed this collaborative approach had failed. They recommended that, in future, food, drinks and tobacco firms should have no role in national or international policies on chronic diseases.
Instead, they proposed a system of "public regulation" which they said would focus on directly pressuring industry by "raising awareness of their shady practices and maintaining active public pressure."
Ever since WWII, our nutrition policy has been skewed by the New Deal--the main purpose is to profit from us, and lessen our lifespan in the process by replacing fat and protein with carbs. The old knowledge has been replaced with "corporate wellness policy", meaning THIS IS WHAT'S GOOD FOR THE CORPORATION, NOT YOU PERSONALLY.
Do you think these people actually eat their own food products? Do you think they actually obey this policy they put forth for the rest of us, reinforced by lower-level medical professionals, and carried out through federally-funded school lunch programs and senior nutrition programs?
No--they laugh loudly all the way to the bank while they chew on grass-fed and pastured prime rib, filet mignon, oysters Rockefeller, eel pie, and slurp cream sauces I can't even begin to spell out here. You'll never see things such as Rice-a-Roni or Stove Top Stuffing served at White House dinners, or boxed Corn Flakes served at the annual Prayer Breakfasts. Rich people don't eat that shit, and neither should you!
So what can you do about it all? Vote with your wallet and don't buy their products. Encourage others to do the same, and before long, the corporations will be on their knees. We've already got Congress on its knees, so why stop there?