The Journal of the American Medical Association‘s Forum presents expert commentary on health policy, politics, economy, and the law. The latest post — “The Influence of Big Food Promotes Healthy Profits But Not Healthy Consumers” is a worthy read.
- “The tobacco industry’s deception of consumers and government about tobacco-related health risks is well known. But the food industry influence, which has resources and influence greater than that of Big Tobacco, has largely escaped public notice. A principal difference between tobacco and food is that there is no safe level of inhaled tobacco products, whereas there are certainly safe levels of virtually all food products. Food is a necessity of life, but it can also pose health risks.”
- “The food industry has the money to purchase influence with policy makers. In 2013 and 2014, the industry contributed $6 million directly to House and Senate members who sit on committees with food regulation oversight. In 2015, the industry spent $34 million in federal lobbying, not counting lobbying at the state and local level.”
- “When influence is not enough to keep interventions at bay, the food industry uses its considerable resources to litigate against laws or regulations that are likely to be effective in curbing consumption of its products. The industry also has the wherewithal to run mass social marketing campaigns to sway public opinion away from commonsense interventions, using arguments that such interventions are “nanny state” measures that violate “personal choice.”
The article details how industry has influenced nutritional guidelines, financed shadow groups, and influenced scientific research. We hope AND leadership takes note and thinks about the companies it aligns itself with and takes funding from.