With every passing month, more health experts speak out on the many problems with accepting funds from Big Food. Recently, Boyd Swinburn, Professor of Population Nutrition and Global Health at the University of Auckland penned a blog post on the topic.
He starts off by stating that “at the recent International Congress on Nutrition, the big global gathering of nutrition scientists every four years, I was invited to give a presentation, but when I tried to get the Congress to send out a press release on my message criticising Big Food, the organisers declined to do so. Big Food were major sponsors of the Congress.”
He then goes on to say that “over the last several years, it has become increasingly apparent that Big Food is he major barrier to getting governments to act on things like soda taxes or getting consumer-friendly front of pack labels. These multinational corporate giants will come down on policy makers like a ton of bricks if they even attempt such regulations.”
This relentless co-optation of science and professional organizations worries Mr. Swinburn. “Although I am supposed to be a dispassionate researcher, I can’t help getting very heated about this corporate hubris and erosion of democratic processes,” he writes.
We share with Mr. Swinburn’s concerns. It is clear that shifts in food policy are necessary to begin to fix the current broken food system, and it is just as clear that the food industry’s number one goal is to create hurdles, problems, and distractions. It certainly doesn’t help when health organizations partner up with these companies, allowing them to deceitfully present themselves as “part of the solution.”