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To identify examples of the ‘corporate political activity’ (CPA) of the industry producing and selling ultra-processed food and drink products (UPP) in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Searches were conducted on the national websites and social media accounts of large industry actors. Coding was deductive and based on a framework for classifying the CPA of the food industry.
Fifteen countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Twelve members of the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) and major trade associations and chambers of commerce in the region.
During the current pilot study, more than 200 examples of CPA were found in Latin America and the Caribbean. The UPP industry lobbied governments during the development of national health policies. UPP companies tried to build alliances with health professionals, but also with communities where they operated and with policy makers. In addition, the UPP industry fought against regulation in court and proposed weaker alternatives to public health policies, such as self-regulation.
Food systems in low- and middle-income countries, including in Latin America and the Caribbean, are increasingly penetrated by the UPP industry. These countries are at risk of being influenced by the CPA strategies described in the present study. There is a need to further identify, monitor and evaluate the impact of these CPA strategies on public health policies and public opinion in the region, in order to develop mechanisms to effectively prevent such interference.
To identify the corporate political activity (CPA) of major food industry actors in France.
We followed an approach based on information available in the public domain. Different sources of information, freely accessible to the public, were monitored.
Data were collected and analysed between March and August 2015. Five actors were selected: ANIA (Association Nationale des Industries Agroalimentaires/National Association of Agribusiness Industries); Coca-Cola; McDonald’s; Nestlé; and Carrefour.
Our analysis shows that the main practices used by Coca-Cola and McDonald’s were the framing of diet and public health issues in ways favourable to the company, and their involvement in the community. ANIA primarily used the ‘information and messaging’ strategy (e.g. by promoting deregulation and shaping the evidence base on diet- and public health-related issues), as well as the ‘policy substitution’ strategy. Nestlé framed diet and public health issues, and shaped the evidence base on diet- and public health-related issues. Carrefour particularly sought involvement in the community.
We found that, in 2015, the food industry in France was using CPA practices that were also used by other industries in the past, such as the tobacco and alcohol industries. Because most, if not all, of these practices proved detrimental to public health when used by the tobacco industry, we propose that the precautionary principle should guide decisions when engaging or interacting with the food industry.
In the present study, we used a structured approach based on publicly available information to identify the corporate political activity (CPA) strategies of three major actors in the dairy industry in France.
We collected publicly available information from the industry, government and other sources over a 6-month period, from March to August 2015. Data collection and analysis were informed by an existing framework for classifying the CPA of the food industry.
Our study included three major actors in the dairy industry in France: Danone, Lactalis and the Centre National Interprofessionnel de l’Economie Laitière (CNIEL), a trade association.
During the period of data collection, the dairy industry employed CPA practices on numerous occasions by using three strategies: the ‘information and messaging’, the ‘constituency building’ and the ‘policy substitution’ strategies. The most common practice was the shaping of evidence in ways that suited the industry. The industry also sought involvement in the community, establishing relationships with public health professionals, academics and the government.
Our study shows that the dairy industry used several CPA practices, even during periods when there was no specific policy debate on the role of dairy products in dietary guidelines. The information provided here could inform public health advocates and policy makers and help them ensure that commercial interests of industry do not impede public health policies and programmes.
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