This article in The Guardian highlights how funding from the food industry can get in the way of sound science, especially as Big Food attempts to stave off regulation and any negative health connotations associated with specific ingredients by funding scientists and other health experts.
- “Next year, the government’s scientific advisory committee on nutrition (SACN) will report on carbohydrates, including sugar, in people’s diet. Its members, some of whom receive funding from industry, are thought to be sceptical that the sugar is a cause of obesity.The chairman of the SACN working group on carbohydrates, Professor Ian Macdonald, from Nottingham University, has been on the Mars and Coca-Cola European advisory boards, although he has stepped down from both for the duration of the inquiry.
The professor is the academic lead for his university’s “strategic relationship” with Unilever, which owns ice-cream brands as well as margarine and weight-loss products.”
- “Simon Capewell, professor of clinical epidemiology at Liverpool University, argues there is evidence that taxes on foods with high fat, sugar and fat content will work. But, he says, “industry is doing all it can to stop that happening, including funding scientists. The tactics of the Big Food and Big Soda multinationals are thus very similar to those employed by Big Tobacco. Regulation and taxation both work. All we need now is a UK government which is genuinely committed to promoting the public’s health, rather than supporting their industry friends’ profits.”
This is precisely why the Corn Refiners, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, General Mills, and other Academy partners are so keen not just on being present at the Academy conference, but also on hiring dietitians.