As part of the activities organized around the visit of Gyorgy Scrinis, together with Centro di Salute Internazionale and Dipartimento di Storia Culture e Civiltà we have organized this focus group on corporate influence on the public health agenda.
December 6, 3:30 pm – Aula Capitani – Department of History and Cultures
BIG FOOD. CORPORATE INFLUENCE ON THE PUBLIC HEALTH AGENDA
The incidence of nutrition-related disorders such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiopathies is on the rise, as well as the concerns about the impact of ultra-processed food on our health. The multinational corporations of food industry, collectively known as Big Food, have answered to these concerns by shifting the attention from the quality of the food to the individual nutrients, identified as both the problem to solve and the answer to nutrition-related disorders. Ultimately, this strategy serves the purpose to shift the attention from the structural causes of the nutrition-related pathologies, including the role of Big Food itself in creating an unhealthy food environment via the production of ultra-processed and packaged food. In parallel, food corporations have used various strategies to influence the political and governance processes in order to create and maintain a regulatory environment that is favourable to their practices and the commercialization of their products. The strategies used by Big Food to influence the political agendas, including the one on public health, span from lobbying to taking part in the so-called public-private partnerships, from using their economic power in both global and local contexts to participating both directly and indirectly in the formulation of laws, norms and policies. Lastly, food corporations are actively engaged in shaping the public discourse and in defining the political debate on food and nutrition issues, through advertisement, public campaigns on health and well-being, or by funding research and sponsoring groups of professionals and citizens.