Since this page’s inception in February, we have shared a multitude of articles decrying Big Food’s involvement with health organizations and health policy. We’ve shared those pieces mainly because they presented well thought-out arguments, but also to demonstrate that concerns about the food industry’s co-optation of health is shared worldwide by a variety of health experts, not just Dietitians For Professional Integrity.
Today we are sharing this 2012 Guardian op-ed by by London-based cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra.
Sidenote 1: Are we the only ones who cringe when articles on childhood obesity are accompanied by a stereotypical photo of a headless torso pinching its sides?
Sidenote 2: Health goes beyond body size; we are just as worried about children who are at a healthy weight and nevertheless consume high amounts of the hyper-processed foods relentlessly marketed to them.
Unfortunate photo aside, the op-ed touches on how misguided partnerships with Big Food are. Dr. Malhotra writes:
“Last year, the government argued that working with the food industry, including McDonald’s and Pepsi, was the best way forward. I have never heard such rubbish. Allowing food corporations to self-regulate has not only been ineffective but in some instances dangerous.
People can be easily misled by “healthy” marketing. Not only is it a reflection of corporate greed taking precedence over the health of our children but it may also be part of the explanation of why, despite the greater information on food packaging, our obesity rates are soaring. Current food labeling is confusing for many.
It’s high time that the government implemented a series of robust measures through legislation to tackle this worsening crisis.”
We are in full agreement. The food industry has had multiple chances to show that its claims of wanting to be “part of the solution” go beyond lip service, but has yet to come through. At some point, health organizations and governments need to realize that expecting partnerships from those who do not share similar goals is a futile effort.