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Big Food Gets Punched by Health Site

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For too long, public health has tiptoed around Big Food. PLoS is pulling back the veil of silence with a series that should be required reading for all health professionals. The first article in the series – “Big Food, Food Systems, and Global Health” – starts by throwing down a gauntlet: “Global food systems are not meeting the world’s dietary needs.” Admitting “that action requires tackling vested interests, especially the powerful Big Food companies with strong ties to and influence over national governments,” the guest editors insist, “we must make choices about how to engage with Big Food.”

The second piece in the series compares the corporate social responsibility campaigns of two industries: soda and tobacco. The authors accuse both of spending heavily “as a means to focus responsibility on consumers rather than on the corporation, bolster the companies’ and their products’ popularity, and to prevent regulation.” In other words, when McDonald’s sponsors the Olympics or Pepsi launches its Refresh Project, their bottom line is profit, not public benefit.

The series is sure to prompt vigorous and important debate. Big Food’s impact on world health has been devastating. This series calls on public health advocates, whether consumers, professionals or policy makers, to wrestle with the issues and insist on change.

The articles will all be accessible on the PLoS Medicine Series on Big Food site.

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41 comments

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8:24AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Big food = big profit = big troubles health wise! One can never really trust them!

5:14AM PDT on Jul 15, 2012

Make and eat your own product.

11:24AM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

marvelous news--

10:37AM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

thanks

10:17AM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

thanks

7:23AM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

You're right Mike C - hell it used to be a free country to own slaves in too, right? Unless you were a slave, that is - then it didn't feel so free.

The point is people don't HAVE a lot of choices. If you don't want to eat meat with pink slime in it, well how do you know how to select it? Other than buying organic, which is often twice as expensive, you have no other choice but to dig in and enjoy that pink slime. And it's only there because it increases profits. We are either not informed at all about what's in our food, or deliberately misinformed.

If you want to buy non GMO foods - well other than buying organic soybean products or organic corn products, YOU HAVE NO CHOICE BECAUSE IT'S NOT LABELED!!!!! And if you think it's easy to avoid non-organic corn, take a look at the ingredients label of about 3/4 of what's in your grocery cart. Corn syrup is in EVERYTHING. And if it's not organic, it's almost certainly GMO.

So yeah - I would LOVE for it to be a free country where people could make their own choices. But that's not what Big Ag and Big Food want - they want us to be pinned in a corner where we don't get the information we want to make choices, and the choices offered to us are tightly controlled so Big Ag and Big Food can continue to make Big Money on low quality food.

6:47AM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

why can't people make choices, people are responsible for what they eat.

Good old liberals taking away another freedom. Hey liberals, it use to be a free country, free to eat and drink what we want or not. It's the people's choice.

5:36AM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

I believe there are many people eating substandard food-like products because they are government subsidized to keep them cheap. What would consumers say if the subsidies were offered to local farmers who offered whole foods?

5:34AM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

One day my boss was eating a cone of the latest frozen dessert. I asked him what it was. He said, "Plastic!"

3:19AM PDT on Jun 29, 2012

Thanks for posting.

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